Drug cartel lieutenant pleads not guilty
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – One of the top lieutenants of the Fernando Sanchez-
Arellano Organization, which is believed responsible for murders, abductions
and a wide range of drug-trafficking offenses, pleaded not guilty Thursday to
federal drug and racketeering charges.
Armando Villareal Heredia, aka Gordo Villareal, is the lead defendant in
a 43-defendant prosecution against the FSO and faces life in prison if
convicted, according to court documents.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Robinson told Magistrate Judge Nita Stormes
that Villareal should be held without bail because he is a flight risk and a
danger to the public. A detention hearing was set for May 31.
Villareal, 33, was arrested by Mexican law enforcement officers last
July 9 at the request of the United States and remained in custody in Mexico
until his extradition Wednesday.
According to an indictment, Villareal was one of the top leaders of the
FSO, which evolved from the now-defunct Arellano-Felix Organization.
To date, 38 defendants have entered guilty pleas in the case.