Hitman 'Cachetes' convicted in Texas

Jan. 25, 2012 at 10:07 PM
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LAREDO, Texas, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A federal jury in Texas Wednesday convicted reputed drug gang hitman Gerardo Castillo-Chavez, known as "Cachetes," on conspiracy and related charges.

Castillo-Chavez, a 25-year-old Mexican national who authorities said had ties to the Gulf Cartel and Zetas drug gang, was found guilty on all counts following a 4 1/2-day trial and about 6 hours of deliberation in Laredo, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson said in a release. Castillo-Chavez was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence.

Castillo-Chavez was among 33 defendants alleged to have conspired to kidnap and kill U.S. citizens in a foreign country, and trafficked in drugs across the Mexican-U.S. border. Fourteen of them have been convicted so far, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Several witnesses' testimony tied Castillo-Chavez to the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas between November 2005 and May 2009. They implicated him in the April 2, 2006, double murder of two males, the attempted murders of two others in March 2006 and a grenade attack of a nightclub in Monterrey, Mexico, in which four people died.

Castillo-Chavez faces a possible life prison sentence and a $4 million fine for the drug conspiracy conviction alone. He is to be sentenced April 30.

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