Brother of murdered Gulf Cartel plaza boss “Gringo Mike” sentenced to 15 years in prison for drug trafficking

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

The 39-year-old brother of a former leader in the Gulf Cartel was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday. Lee Roy Villarreal was found guilty in July of 2019 following an eight-day trial of conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

The court found Villarreal ran a large-scale cocaine distribution network that spanned nearly 5 years. During that time, Villarreal and his associates distributed 150 to 450 kilograms of cocaine from Mexico and Panama to a large number of cocaine distributors based throughout the country to include cities in Texas, Georgia, Illinois and Indiana.

The judge found Villarreal was directly involved in the importation of cocaine.

Villarreal’s brother is Michael “Gringo Mike” Villarreal, a Gulf Cartel plaza boss who was killed by rival Gulf Cartel members in March 2013.

“Drug cartels like the Gulf Cartel, which is also known as Cartel del Golfo (CDG), flood our communities with drugs that cause death and destruction, but high-ranking CDG leaders like Villarreal are not immune from stiff punishments,” said Hamdani. “This prosecution dealt a tough blow to the CDG’s operations. Villarreal brought poison to our communities, and collaborative efforts with our partners brought him to justice.”

Running things on the U.S. side

At trial, the jury heard Villarreal was in charge of running drug trafficking operations on the U.S. side in South Texas on behalf of “Gringo Mike” and the Gulf Cartel.

Testimony revealed Villarreal was directly involved in the importation of cocaine from Mexico and Panama. He directed the activities of his workers who imported, stashed and transported cocaine to cities across the United States. Villarreal was also in charge of repatriating proceeds from the sale of cocaine back to Gringo Mike and Gulf Cartel members in Mexico. Villarreal used at least one stash house in Mission to store cocaine and drug proceeds.

Villarreal testified at trial and claimed he was never involved in drug trafficking, had no illegal association with his brother, “Gringo Mike”, and merely operated a legitimate auto mechanic business. The jury did not believe the defense claims and found him guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

To date, 12 other individuals have been convicted in relation to the conspiracy. Lee Roy Villareal has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

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