Cartel boss sentencing a blow to Chicago cocaine trade

April 25, 2013 (CHICAGO)

If he was selling shower curtain rings, Benito Aguilar-Ozuna would have the title of Regional Manager for the Midwestern United States and responsible for wining and dining customers.

But in Aguilar's position with the Zetas drug cartel, he tried to be invisible. We don't even have a picture of him.

Thursday though, the man they call Pichollo or ...... was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, effectively terminating the man who was in charge of supplying Illinois.

Cocaine was Benito Aguilar-Ozuna's commodity. Federal drug agents say he was responsible for much of Chicago's street supply the past decade, yielding hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for the Zetas cartel in Mexico.

Under Aguilar-Ozuna, the cartel that even has its own colorful logo began hiring American street gangs in Texas to steal cars for weapons smuggling and enlisted businessmen with bribes to start U.S. companies so the cartel could more effectively launder drug money.

According to an FBI intelligence bulletin, since Pichollo's arrest, there has been a shift in Los Zetas recruiting methods. They are now thought to be forming pacts with U.S.-based prison and street gangs in Chicago and other hub cities, hiring non-Mexican nationals to perform drug trafficking that federal authorities tonight say may increase violence and pose a danger to the public.

The Zetas and the other Mexican cartels are believed to have moved their operations centers across the border into the U.S. to be closer to their main sales hubs. That has raised concerns among federal drug enforcement officials.

Jack Riley, head of the Chicago DEA office, says it may the most serious organized crime danger facing the U.S. today.

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