07/19/14 (written by frodriguez) — A top enforcer in Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel was extradited to San Diego, California on Thursday, July 10. José Rodrigo Aréchiga Gamboa, also known as “El Chino Ántrax,” faces charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California for drug trafficking and drug distribution, specifically dealing with cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. In his first court hearing on July 11, Aréchiga pleaded not guilty to the charges, and denied his right to appeal Judge Mitchell Dembin’s decision to hold him without bail.
Aréchiga was arrested on December 30, 2013 in the Netherlands as he de-boarded a flight in Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport. U.S. authorities had indicted Aréchiga and issued a sealed warrant for his arrest ten-days prior. According to San Diego 6 local news, the Dutch authorities identified the suspect despite his attempt to disguise himself with a fake passport, plastic surgery, and altered fingerprints. Five months after his arrest, a Dutch court issued the extradition on May 28. Aréchiga’s next court appearance in San Diego has been scheduled for August 22.
As Justice in Mexico previously reported, Aréchiga was considered one of the top enforcers in the powerful Sinaloa Cartel led by Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and formerly by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who was arrested in February 2014. According to Mexico’s National Security Commission (Comisión Nacional de Seguridad, CNS), Aréchiga headed the cartel’s enforcement cell known as Los Ántrax that works specifically for El Mayo to provide protection for him and his family, and that offers top hit men for cartel operations. The cell has been linked to a number of high profile killings in Mexico, including a 2010 fight against the Beltrán Leyva Organization in Sonora that killed 30 people, and the 2011 public display of three tortured men’s bodies strung from a Sinaloa bridge.
“Top Sinaloa Cartel lieutenant arrested; pending extradition to San Diego.” Justice in Mexico. January 10, 2014.
City News Service. “Mexican drug-gang enforcer extradited to San Diego.” San Diego 6. July 10, 2014.
Mendoza, Alexandra. “’Chino Antrax’ se declara no culpable en Corte de EU.” Milenio. July 11, 2014.