DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Texas

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Kenneth Magidson
, United States Attorney
Contact: Angela Dodge, Public Affairs Officer

Zeta Cartel Member Sentenced in Conspiracy to Smuggle Firearms/Grenades into Mexico

LAREDO, Texas – Richard John Medina aka “El Guero,” 40, of Laredo, has been ordered to prison for being a felon in possession of multiple firearms and grenades, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Medina pleaded guilty Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013.

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Medina a 93-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) testified how Medina illegally smuggled firearms and grenades into Mexico for the Zeta Cartel. In handed down the sentence, Judge Saldana remarked how Medina’s actions encouraged violence on the border and that he was a career criminal.

On Oct. 9, 2013, Medina was arrested at his Laredo residence in possession of five firearms and five grenades. As part of the plea, Medina admitted he attempted to traffic and export these items from the United States into Mexico, exclusively for the Mexican Zeta Cartel.

Medina was hired to export the weapons for $2,500. Medina was to receive half the payment upfront, with the remainder paid upon delivery of the weapons to a Zeta Cartel house in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. On Oct. 9, 2013, Medina received the weapons and was subsequently arrested in the United States. Investigation revealed Medina was a convicted felon and did not have permission under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations to export these military defense weapons.

Medina will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

ATF, Homeland Security Investigations and the Laredo Police Department investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sanjeev Bhasker and Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.

Houston Field Division