Mexico has extradited the head of the Sinaloa Cartel’s Central America operations to the United States, a move that could spark fresh concern among elites in Honduras thought to be connected to organized crime.
On November 15, Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) announced the extradition of Cesar Gastelum Serrano, alias “La Señora,” and Pedro Alejandro Rubio Perez to the United States, reported the Associated Press. Gastelum Serrano operated out of San Pedro Sula, Honduras but was captured in Mexico’s southeastern city of Cancun on April 11.
Prior to his arrest, Gastelum Serrano was arguably the biggest drug trafficker in Central America. When the US Treasury added Gastelum Serrano to its drug “kingpin” list in December 2014, officials called him “one of the most prolific cocaine suppliers for Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.”
Rubio Perez is also affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel and was arrested in 2013 on drug and organized crime charges, according to the Associated Press.
InSight Crime Analysis
Gastelum Serrano was a major figure in Honduras’ underworld, and his extradition to the US could deepen fears among some Honduran elites that their ties to organized crime will become exposed.
Despite reports indicating otherwise, corrupt Honduran power brokers may already be on edge following the recent US indictment against the Rosenthals, one of the country’s wealthiest and most politically-connected families. The Rosenthals face money laundering charges related to drug trafficking and corruption, most likely stemming from their business relationship with a narco-clan known as the Cachiros. It is believed that the leaders of the Cachiros, who turned themselves in to US officials in January, are providing information to authorities on cases like this one.
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Although it is unclear if Gastelum Serrano worked with the Cachiros, he did reportedly collaborate with the Valle Valles, who operated for years unmolested by Honduran authorities despite their notoriety as one of Honduras’ most powerful drug trafficking groups. As with the Cachiros, the leaders of the Valle Valle clan are now in US custody.