Benito Aguilar-Ozuna, who's known as Pichollo and has ties to the Zetas gang, is going to federal prison for almost 20 years, the United States Attorney's Office announced.
Aguilar-Ozuna had earlier entered a guilty plea for conspiracy to traffic cocaine in what the feds say was a "large-scale operation" that delivered the drug to the organization's cells in Texas, Florida, California, Oregon, Georgia and Illinois.
Aguilar-Ozuna was the "most trusted associate" of Alberto Oliva-Castillo, a.k.a. "La Rana," who the feds described as "the number three figure in the Zetas drug cartel at the time of his [October 2011] arrest and [who] allegedly controlled Zeta operations in the key northern states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo León."
Oliva-Castillo has yet to face trial, but investigators say he and Aguilar-Ozuna were part of a big coke operation.
"Agents also discovered that Oliva-Castillo and Aguilar-Ozuna oversaw the transportation of narcotics proceeds in the hundreds of millions from the United States to Mexico," the feds said. "During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately 174 kilograms of cocaine from members of this organization."
U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack sentenced Aguilar-Ozuna to 235 months in federal prison.
"As a Mexican citizen, he is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison," the USAO said.