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.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.