McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A federal jury on Wednesday convicted an alleged hit man for a Mexican drug cartel on racketeering, conspiracy and weapons charges, about two years after a jury at his earlier trial deadlocked on similar counts.

Gerardo Castillo Chavez, also known as “Cachetes,” or Cheeks, was the first of 34 defendants named in the 51-page indictment to go on trial. Many others have pleaded guilty. A judge declared a mistrial in his first trial.

Prosecutors alleged Castillo was part of a larger drug-trafficking conspiracy run by the Gulf drug cartel and the Zetas terror squad.

Court records show the conspiracy’s primary objective was moving cocaine and marijuana from Mexico into Laredo and on to Dallas.

Between 2001 and 2008, the organization, known collectively as “La Compania,” or the company, moved hundreds of drug loads into theUnited States. Cash proceeds from drug sales and guns followed the route back toMexico. The cartel employed a network of safe houses for its drug loads and gunmen on both sides of the border.

Prosecutors presented testimony from law enforcement officers and convicted members of the Zetas over the first five days of the trial. On Tuesday, defense attorney Roberto Balli presented a transcript of testimony Castillo’s sister gave in his first trial. The jury began deliberating early Tuesday afternoon and resumed Wednesday morning.

Balli maintained in both of Castillo’s trials that the government had the wrong man. Balli told jurors federal agents were looking for a man named Armando Garcia, the name in the original indictment, when they arrested Castillo in Houston in 2009.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  1. Svetlana says:

    I’m from durango ever heard of it. One the tesats with the highest murder rates….. yea pendejo. I’m not just some guy who sits at home, and gives his unneeded option ( like yours, way to look classy) this isn’t BDN. So that type of ignorant language of yours is not needed ” montaperro” Como eres corente. But enough of ur STUPID SELF. I have been affect by this war. Durango is not safe. Zetas come in and ruined los ranchos. Killing, rape, extortion. I’m not for any cartel. But la gente de el Chapo in my part of durango look out for la gente. No extortion, rape,etc. In fact they keep it safe. The zetas have messed with my family….can u say the same? While Sinaloa has done nothing. I only know what I c. This is where I’m coming from. Don’t believe me go down to Durango, Santa Maria del oro. Aver si siges asi de bravo, u keyboard warrior.

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