Drug Enforcement Administration


Douglas W. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge

March 28, 2013

Contact: Erica C. Curry

Phone Number: (602) 664-5609

High Ranking Sinaloa Cartel Member Indicted On Various Drug And Money Laundering Charges

Over 148 pounds of Methamphetamine and over $770,000 seized

PHOENIX - Drug Enforcement (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman announced today the unsealing of an indictment against Jose Guadalupe Tapia-Quintero, 42, a Mexican national and high ranking member of the Sinaloa Cartel.  Tapia-Quintero was indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2013 on various counts including Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine with Intent to Import, Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Conspiracy to Commit Concealment Money Laundering.  

“Our strategy of targeting the highest level of the Sinaloa Cartel continues to pay off,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman.  “DEA and our law enforcement partners on both sides of the border remain committed to using every law enforcement tool to attack these criminal organizations so they are put out of business, and their leaders are brought to justice.”

Jose Guadalupe Tapia-Quintero, aka “Lupe”, is a resident of Sinaloa, Mexico and owned various businesses including bus and tractor-trailer companies in Mexico.  As a transportation coordinator for the powerful Sinaloa Cartel, Tapia Quintero used his businesses to move large quantities of methamphetamine at a time from the interior of Mexico to the U.S/Mexico border including Arizona.   

Tapia-Quintero, a trusted ally of the Sinaloa Cartel, controlled key drug distribution routes from Sinaloa, Mexico to destination points along the Southwest Border 

In total, the long term investigation has resulted in seizure of 148.5 pounds of Methamphetamine; 30 kilograms of Cocaine; over $770,000; and three arrests. 
The investigation preceding the indictment was led by the DEA Phoenix OCDETF Strike Force and IRS Criminal Investigation with the assistance of the DEA Special Operations Division, Scottsdale Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The DEA Phoenix OCDETF Strike Force brings a synergy to drug trafficking investigations by combining, side-by-side, the resources and expertise of all participating investigative agents and prosecutors.  By coordinating their efforts in that way, OCDETF Strike Force has achieved great success against the major Mexican cartels.

An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference on guilt.  An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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