Alleged Zetas commander 'Z-31' caught trying to enter US
27-year-old Jose Manuel Saldivar-Farias, aka 'Z-31,' arrested at Falcon Lake
LAREDO, Texas – An alleged high-ranking member of the Los Zetas cartel is facing charges after he was caught illegally entering the U.S.
A FBI press release stated 27-year-old Jose Manuel Saldivar-Farias, aka "Z-31" or "El Borrado," and another man identified as Osiel Hernandez-Martinez, 26, have been charged with conspiracy to possess more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Salidvar-Farias is also charged with giving false statements to government agents.
The release stated on March 12, Texas DPS and Air National Guard officers were flying over Falcon Lake when they noticed a suspicious boat speeding from Mexico to the U.S.
Officers arrested the individuals on the boat, which included Saldivar-Farias and Hernandez-Martinez.
The release stated Saldivar-Farias lied to agents about his true identity and was taken into custody.
According to a court criminal complaint, Saldivar-Farias is the regional commander of the northern region of Mexico and is allegedly in charge of all narcotics moving through the area. The complaint alleges several multi-ton quantities of marijuana have been crossed into U.S. over this area.
If convicted on the drug charges, Saldivar-Farias and Hernandez-Martinez each face up to life in prison.
Saldivar-Farias also faces prison time for making false statements. Both men would be fined millions as well.
The arrest was a group effort between several agencies including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Patrol, the National Guard and DPS.
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