41 Charged in Major Drug Trafficking Indictment Linked to CJNG Cartel, Leader Still at Large


A major crackdown on drug trafficking has resulted in 41 individuals charged in connection with a sprawling indictment that implicates the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) in smuggling operations spanning across the Houston and Galveston areas.

The indictment, consisting of 50 counts, alleges the trafficking of cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States between December 2018 and April 2020.

Among those charged, 23 individuals have been taken into custody, while others, including the purported leader, Roque Zamudio-Mendoza, remain at large.

The operation, spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), involved arrests in multiple jurisdictions, including Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Washington, and California.

Law enforcement officials seized a significant amount of narcotics, including approximately 550 kilograms of meth, 249 kilograms of cocaine, 34 kilograms of heroin, and over 22,600 fentanyl-laced pills, along with other illicit substances.

Additionally, authorities confiscated firearms, luxury Rolex watches, and substantial sums of U.S. currency, totaling approximately $10 million in illegal proceeds.

The forfeiture sought in the indictment underscores the extensive financial network allegedly associated with the drug trafficking enterprise.

The charges encompass conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute various drugs, including cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine, with potential penalties of up to life imprisonment.

Defendants also face charges related to money laundering and possession with intent to distribute illicit substances.

While a significant number of defendants have already appeared in federal court, others are scheduled for hearings in Galveston and Houston.

The indictment marks the culmination of a 63-month investigation known as Operation Rainmaker, an effort led by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) to dismantle high-level criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking.

The arrests represent a significant blow to the CJNG’s operations in the United States, with law enforcement agencies reiterating their commitment to combating drug-related threats to public safety and national security.

Despite the apprehensions, efforts continue to locate and apprehend remaining fugitives associated with the alleged cartel activities.