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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs > Releases > Other Releases > 2004

Narcotics Rewards Program Offers Up To $5 Million for Drug Lord Capture

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
February 26, 2004

[See also  International Narcotics Control Strategy Report]

Mexican drug lord, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada-Garcia, is wanted for smuggling almost $50 million worth of cocaine into the United States during the last five years. DEA PosterThe Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proudly announced today that the U.S. Department of State, through its Narcotics Rewards Program, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Mexican drug lord Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada-Garcia.

Zambada-Garcia is responsible for bringing in at least 16 metric tons of cocaine into the United Sates during the past five years. He is designated as a major violator of the United States narcotics laws and was indicted for importing nearly 3,000 kilograms of cocaine, worth approximately $47.5 million, and charged with conspiracy to import and export under Title 21 U.S.C. 963 and, aiding and abetting under Title 18 USC 2. The indictment was unsealed by Attorney General John Ashcroft in July 2003, during the final stage of “Operation Trifecta,” a multi-agency, multi-nation initiative targeting the Zambada-Garcia drug trafficking organization’s command and control infrastructure.

Zambada is controlling one of the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organizations in Mexico, smuggling wholesale quantities of cocaine and marijuana through almost every port of entry in the state of Arizona and is expanding his influence along the 2,000 mile Southwest Border. DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge, Anthony Coulson stated, “Zambada-Garcia is an extremely dangerous criminal whose narcotic trafficking activities are legendary. For more than three decades, he has skillfully aligned with almost every known drug trafficking organization in Mexico. We are asking the assistance of Arizona residents to provide any information they may have on his whereabouts so that we can bring his criminal career to an end.”

Zambada-Garcia recently emerged as one of the top drug smugglers in Mexico after a bloody battle with the Arellano-Felix Organization, the once-powerful Tijuana cartel, and has consolidated his control over the smuggling routes from the Mexican state of Sonora into Arizona.

DEA spokesperson, Ramona Sanchez stated that the DEA is trying to dramatically increase the pressure on Zambada by soliciting the public’s help in finding him. Sanchez remarked that the DEA will pursue every possible lead until he is found and brought to justice. As part of a state-wide, aggressive media campaign, the DEA has posted two billboards along Interstate 10 in southern Arizona for information leading to Zambada-Garcia’s capture. “Wanted” posters and flyers of Zambada will also be posted at ports of entry along the Southwest Border as well as in federal, state and local government buildings.

Zambada-Garcia will be featured on “America’s Most Wanted” to be aired on the Fox Channel on Saturday, February 28, 2004.

Anyone with information about Zambada-Garcia’s whereabouts is urged to call the DEA Phoenix Tip Hotline 1-866-332-7469 from the United States or Mexico. All calls are Strictly Confidential.

If you have questions or need further information, please call Public Information Officer Ramona Sanchez at (602) 664-5725.


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