Mexico drug lord 'The Viceroy' sentenced to 28 years – BBC News

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image source, Anadolu Agency

A court in Mexico has sentenced the former leader of one of the country’s biggest drug trafficking cartels to 28 years in jail.

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes took over control of the Juárez cartel after his brother died during botched plastic surgery in 1997.

Thousands of people were murdered in turf wars between rival cartels.

The Juárez cartel has lost much of its power since Vicente Carrillo Fuentes was arrested in 2014.

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, who was known as The Viceroy, was found guilty of drug trafficking and organised crime.

The 58-year-old was one of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) most wanted men for whose capture they offered a reward of $5m (£3.6m).

A DEA-supplied photograph of Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Mexico December 7, 1999

image source, Getty Images

He was detained at a police checkpoint in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila in October 2014 along with one of his bodyguards.

Police said he had been keeping a “low profile”

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes became the leader of Juárez cartel after the death of his older brother Amado, who was known as Lord of the Skies for his knack of smuggling large quantities of drugs in his private fleet of aeroplanes.

Amado Carrillo Fuentes had taken control of the Juárez cartel after killing its previous leader, Rafael Aguilar Guajardo.

Under The Lord of the Skies, the cartel became one of the main criminal organisations in Mexico as it gained control of the bulk of cocaine trafficking to the United States.

Like his younger brother, The Lord of the Skies rarely let himself be photographed.

In 1997, Amado Carrillo Fuentes checked into a Mexican hospital to have plastic surgery to alter his appearance and evade capture.

He died as a result of the botched operation. The doctors who performed it were killed some months later.

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes built up a complex financial structure to launder the proceeds from the cartel’s drug trafficking.

But during his time at the helm, the Juárez cartel entered into a bloody rivalry with the Sinaloa cartel, led by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The battle with its rivals from Sinaloa left the Juárez cartel seriously weakened but it is still thought to be behind a large number of murders in its stronghold in Ciudad Juárez.

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’s 28-year-sentence takes into account the years he has already spent in prison since his arrest.

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