August 13, 2008

Drug lord accused of running cartel from jail moved to secret location

05:24 PM CDT on Wednesday, August 13, 2008
By Jeff McShan / 11 News

Cardenas-Guillen was captured after a fierce gun battle with the Mexican army on the streets of Matamoros in 2003.

Video Feds: Drug lord running empire from jail

August 12, 2008

HOUSTON -- A Mexican national accused of leading one of the biggest and most violent drug cartels in the world, will soon stand trial in Houston.

Oziel Cardenas-Guillen was allegedly the kingpin of the Gulf Cartel, which was moving more than four tons of cocaine into the United States every week, according to authorities.

Even though Cardenas-Guillen was kept in solitary confinement in the federal detention center in Houston, authorities said he was still running his drug business from behind bars.

Officials with the Federal Bureau of Prisons called Wednesday to say he had been moved to a top secret location.

Cardenas-Guillen was captured after a fierce gun battle between his forces and the Mexican army on the streets of Matamoros, Mexico in 2003.

He was indicted on drug charges and for the attempted murders of both DEA and FBI agents. The Mexican drug lord was then brought to Houston under a veil of secrecy.

Once here, Cardenas-Guillen hired prominent defense attorneys Chip Lewis and Mike Ramsey. They are the same lawyers who represented former Enron CEO Ken Lay and accused killer Robert Durst.

Court records show that Guillen's trial was to have started law fall, but it has been delayed twice. Lewis and Ramsey recently asked for another nine month continuance, so they could translate court documents.

Federal judge Hilda Tagle turned down their request and insisted that both sides be ready to start picking a jury by Nov. 12.

While Guillen has been in jail, the drug wars along the border towns have grown more violent as drug traffickers battle for the top spot. However, Guillen may still be the top dog in the drug trade, because officials insist he is somehow still able to run his drug empire from behind bars.

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