Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez, alias “El Coss,” headed the Gulf Cartel, which has its headquarters in Tamaulipas, along the eastern part of the US-Mexico border. He was detained by Mexican marines in September 2012 and extradited to the United States in September 2015.
For years, El Coss managed the Gulf Cartel’s security, including the Zetas, the former armed wing of the group. He rose to the top after the arrest of famed Gulf boss Osiel Cárdenas Guillén in 2003.
His fearless approach and legendary temper have got him into many difficult situations. In November 1999, he was part of an armed group that stopped and held several US federal agents at gunpoint. He released them, but the incident earned him his first indictment in the United States.
By 2007, he was reportedly communicating with the Zetas via telephone rather than meeting with them in person. In 2010, the Gulf Cartel murdered a top member of the Zetas, and the group sought retribution. When El Coss refused to hand over the killer, the Zetas declared war, and since then the northeastern states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila have become some of the most violent in Mexico.
El Coss was arrested on September 12, 2012, in the Gulf Cartel stronghold of Tamaulipas. El Coss, alongside fellow drug lord Edgar Váldez Villarreal, alias “La Barbie,” was extradited to the United States on September 30, 2015.
On September 26, 2017, El Coss pleaded guilty in a US federal court to drug trafficking charges and two counts of assault.