Posted on January 24, 2013 at 8:26 AM
BROWNSVILLE, Texas—An alleged manager in Mexico’s Gulf drug cartel convicted of immigration and weapon charges could face up to 20 years in prison.
Jose Luis Zuniga Hernandez—known as “El Wicho”—is to be sentenced Thursday in Brownsville. Just across the Rio Grande is Matamoros, Mexico, where federal authorities say he managed cartel operations before fleeing to the U.S. to escape his enemies.
Zuniga pleaded guilty earlier this month to illegal re-entry and being an illegal immigrant in possession of a firearm.
Border Patrol agents arrested him and four others in October 2011 near the Rio Grande. He was carrying $20,000, cocaine and a gold-plated handgun.
Zuniga’s lawyer had argued that he was fleeing for his life. Cartel infighting has driven several members into the United States.