Alfredo Beltrán Leyva

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Alfredo Beltrán Leyva (born January 12, 1971),[1] commonly referred to by his alias El Mochomo (The Desert Ant),[2] is an incarcerated Mexican drug lord and former leader of the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, a drug trafficking organization.

Break away from the Sinaloa Cartel

The cartel was created by the four Beltrán Leyva brothers: Alfredo, Héctor, Carlos and Arturo.[3] Born in the Sinaloan countryside in the early 1970s, Alfredo and his brothers worked closely with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, during decades of smuggling.[4] The organization, run mainly by Alfredo, Arturo and Héctor,[5] formed as a splinter group of the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, which was led by Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera. After Alfredo was arrested, the Beltrán-Leyva brothers blamed Guzmán Loera and retaliated by forming the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, and killing one of the Sinaloa cartel chief's sons in a grenade attack on a Culiacán shopping center. This sparked a war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Beltrán-Leyva Cartel, which allied itself with Los Zetas.[3]

Warrant and arrest

Alfredo Beltrán Leyva was arrested in Culiacán with three members of his security detail on January 21, 2008, with two suitcases filled with $900,000 in cash and luxury watches.[6][7]

Police also found 20 fragmentation grenades, automatic weapons, rifles,

40 bulletproof vests, eight of which bore the initials FEDA, which was likely a Spanish acronym for "Arturo's Special Forces." Authorities also found an unspecified amount of cash in one of his homes. At the time of his arrest, Alfredo was the top lieutenant of Joaquín "Chapo" Guzmán Loera.[8][9] Édgar Eusebio Millán Gómez, top commander of Mexico's national federal police and Spokesman for the Arrest would be assassinated five months later.[10][11] On 14 October 2014, a federal court rejected Beltrán Leyva's writ of amparo (effectively equivalent to an injunction) preventing his extradition to the United States. The court rejected it under the rationale that it believed that the former drug lord met all the legal requirements for his extradition.[12]

Kingpin Act sanction

On 3 December 2009, the United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Beltrán Leyva under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (sometimes referred to simply as the "Kingpin Act"), for his involvement in drug trafficking along with twenty-one other international criminals and ten foreign entities.[13]

The act prohibited U.S. citizens and companies from doing any kind of 

business activity with him, and virtually froze all his assets in the U.S.[14]


On 15 November 2014, Beltrán Leyva was extradited to the United States. He was appointed to make his court appearance in Washington D.C. in a session direct by U.S. judge Alan Kay for his pending drug trafficking offenses.[15][16]

On November 17 through his lawyer, he pleaded not guilty for conspiracy

to import large shipments of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine from Mexico to the U.S.[17][18]


Beltrán Leyva's trial was scheduled to begin on February 8, 2016. He was represented by prominent criminal defense attorney A. Eduardo Balarezo of Washington, DC. [19]

On February 23, Beltrán Leyva pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge

Richard J. Leon of the District of Columbia to participating in an international narcotics trafficking conspiracy