Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad. Courtesy Justice Department

A major Mexican drug cartel leader admitted in San Diego federal court Thursday that he organized the transportation and distribution of large quantities of cocaine and heroin into the United States.

Sajid Emilio Quintero Navidad, aka Cadete, pleaded guilty to all charges in an indictment that charged him with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances intended for importation, conspiracy to import controlled substances and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

Quintero Navidad, 36, is the cousin of fugitive Mexican drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero and an associate of high-ranking Mexican cartel leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia, aka Mayo. Quintero Navidad is believed to be one of the highest-ranking Mexican cartel leaders to be arrested in the United States, according to prosecutors.

“Quintero Navidad’s guilty plea today sends a clear message to other drug kingpins operating in Mexico. There is no place to hide because our federal team will work tirelessly to hunt you down to face justice in our courts,” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said. “Our investigation and prosecution of other high-level cartel members is continuing and is having a significant impact on the global operations of the Mexican drug cartels.”

Sentencing is scheduled April 20 before U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo.

–City News Service

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