Crime

Expert: Arrest of high-profile cartel members leads to chaos, more violence

Unstable Cartels-

EL PASO, Texas - Alleged Sinoloa Cartel member Arturo Urquidi appeared before a federal judge in El Paso Friday.

The 47-yer-old Urquidi was extradited to the United States from Mexico for funneling "massive amounts" of marijuana and cocaine into the U.S. 

"These are terrible people they deserve to be in court and deserve to be in prison, because they have caused enormous amounts of death and suffering," said Josiah Heyman, the director for Inter-America and Border Studies at the University of Texas El Paso.

In a statement, the DOJ wrote that Urquidi is charged with one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity (RICO conspiracy), one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, one count of conspiracy to import into the United States five kilograms or more of cocaine and 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering offenses and one count of conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.

According to the indictment, Urquidi was responsible for the unloading and loading of cocaine, drug proceeds and firearms in Sinaloa Cartel warehouses in Juarez.

"The cartel of Sinaloa was really terrible," Heyman said. "The organization had many thousands of people's blood on their hands, but I have to say that it is not the only threat out there."

Law enforcement officials said Urquidi was one of two dozen alleged high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel leaders, including the likes Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, indicted on federal racketeering charges in April 2012.

ABC-7 wanted to know how putting men like Urquidi behind bars affects cartels.

"The tactics of the U.S. government and the Mexican government, which has been to knock-off the heads of the cartels to identify them, capture them, put them on trial and imprison them has resulted in shattering cartels into many competing pieces," Heyman said, adding the arrests create instability among cartels.

"What we are really doing is taking out pieces of criminal organizations, then they are going to jostle around and kill people and move into that position to fill that demand," Heyman said. 

Juarez has seen a spike in violence after reporting more than 700 homicides in 2017. Heyman said authorities should focus on the business instead of individuals.

"The bigger issue is gun, drugs and money," Heyman said. "When we start to talk about taking down the business side them we will actually shrink the demand for criminal organizations."

Urquidi is scheduled to be in court at 2 p.m. on June 19 for an arraignment and detention hearing.


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