Reward Offers for Top Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas Leaders

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
July 20, 2009

Today the U.S. Department of State announced the designation of ten new Mexico-based targets of its Narcotics Rewards Program. We took this action in close coordination with the Department of Justice and our other friends and colleagues in the law enforcement community. The individuals named today are top leaders of the Gulf Cartel and its enforcement arm, Los Zetas. Rewards of up to $5 million each are offered for information leading to their arrests.

The Gulf Cartel controls most of the cocaine and marijuana trafficking through the Matamoros, Mexico corridor to the United States. The Gulf Cartel targets announced today are: Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano, Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen, Miguel Trevino-Morales, Mario Ramirez-Trevino, Gilberto Barragan-Balderas, Juan Reyes Mejia-Gonzalez, Alejandro Trevino-Morales, and Samuel Flores-Borrego. Los Zetas evolved from a small group of deserters from the Mexican Special Forces into a ruthless security force for the entire Gulf Cartel and have become a significant drug trafficking organization in their own right. The Los Zetas targets are: Jesus Enrique Rejon-Aguilar, and Aurelio Cano-Flores.

Since the inception of the Narcotics Rewards Program in the 1980’s, the Department of State has paid over $44 million in rewards to individuals whose information helped bring to justice many major violators of U.S. drug laws who were responsible for importing hundreds of tons of illegal narcotics into the United States each year. In fact, this program played a significant role in the capture of all three of the original Gulf Cartel leaders -- Juan Garcia-Abrego, Oscar Malherbe-De Leon, And Osiel Cardenas-Guillen -- with publicized reward offers and subsequent reward payments. We hope to achieve similar success against the ten new targets.

PRN: 2009/756