TULARE – The U.S. State Department is offering up to $5 million for a Tulare native they believe is commanding a faction of a Mexican drug cartel. The federal officials issues the reward for Jose Maria Guizar Valencia, 35, who is allegedly assumed complete control of a faction of the Los Zetas cartel in southern Mexico, the agency said.
Valencia, who also goes under “Z-43,” has smuggled thousands of kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine to the United States every year, the agency said. Under Valencia’s command, the cartel is responsible for the murder of “an untold number of Guatemalan civilians during the systematic overtake of the Guatemalan border region with Mexico during recent years,” according to the agency.
The Los Zetas cartel evolved from a small group of deserters from the Mexican Special Forces, who were then hired by the Gulf Cartel as a security force. They eventually turned into one of the most powerful and violent organizations in Mexico, federal officials said.
The cartel’s founder, Heriberto Lazcano, died and his replacement was arrested, leaving an opening for control of a portion of Los Zetas. Valencia then took command, the officials said.
Valencia also goes under the aliases “Charly,” “Chema,” “Carlitos,” and “43.” Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-CALLFBI, (415)-436-7900 for the Northern California DEA tip line, and (866)-347-2423 for the ICE tip line.
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