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Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Contact: Pao Daryl Fields

Federal Jury in Waco Finds Leader of Cartel Del Noreste and Nephew of Los Zetas Leaders Z-40 and Z-42 Guilty On All Charges

In Waco today, a federal jury convicted 38-year-old Juan Francisco “Kiko” Trevino Chavez, nephew of Los Zetas leaders Miguel Angel Trevino Morales (Z-40) and Oscar Omar Trevino Morales (Z-42), of drug trafficking, firearms and money laundering charges, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, Homeland Security Investigations, San Antonio Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard Goss, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigations, San Antonio Division; Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Drug Enforcement Administration, Houston Division; Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives—Houston Division; and, Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Antonio Division.

Jurors convicted the defendant on one count each of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import marijuana, unlawful distribution of controlled substances (extra-territorial), conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Evidence presented at trial revealed that from 2004 until September 2016, the defendant was a member of the Los Zetas, a transnational drug trafficking organization operating primarily in the Mexican corridors of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Ciudad Acuna and Piedras Negras, Coahuila.

Evidence further revealed that Kiko Trevino met with and conspired with the highest level operatives in the criminal organization, including his uncles, Z-40 and Z-42. Evidence also revealed that Kiko Trevino organized the source and distribution of large quantities of narcotics, laundered drug proceeds, and controlled cells of traffickers and a group of armed sicarios in the Nueva Laredo area. The trial evidence showed the Defendant participated in the trafficking of more than 250,000 kilos of cocaine, hundreds of thousands of kilos of marijuana, and 800 firearms. The evidence further described the laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars in drug proceeds. Finally, trial testimony revealed that after his uncles’ arrests, Los Zetas splintered into two groups and Kiko Trevino took over leadership of one of those two groups, the Cartel Del Noreste (CDN), and in this role controlled all of the drug and firearm trafficking, enforcement, and money laundering operations of CDN. Trevino continued in this leadership role until his arrest in 2016.

Kiko Trevino has remained in federal custody since his arrest in Baytown, TX, on September 28, 2016. He faces up to life in federal prison. The date for sentencing has not yet been set. U.S. District Judge Alia Moses in Waco will announce a date for sentencing at a later date.

These federal and state charges resulted from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration—HIDTA Group, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, the Texas Rangers, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Irving Police Department, the Waco Police Department, the Laredo Police Department, and the Leon Valley Police Department. The United States Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection—Office of Enforcement Operations, and the Natalia Police Department also provided support in this case.

The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering operations, and those primarily responsible for the  nation’s illegal drug supply.


Houston Field Division