The U.S. Marshals Service and Mexican investigators have arrested a Gulf Cartel plaza boss who fled the United States three years ago — skipping his trial on cocaine trafficking charges.
Investigators arrested Edgar “Ewok” Hinojosa, 39, of Brownsville on Monday in Matamoros, said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.
Hinojosa previously served as a bodyguard for Hector Manuel “Karis” Sauceda-Gamboa, the former plaza boss in Reynosa.
In 2012, a federal jury convicted Hinojosa of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute more than 20 kilograms of cocaine, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
September 2012 News Release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas
McALLEN, Texas – A federal jury in McAllen, Texas, has convicted Edgar Hinojosa, aka EWOK, of Brownsville, Texas, on both counts as charged in relation to a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. After three days of trial and approximately four hours of deliberations, the jury convicted Hinojosa, 35, of conspiracy as well as possession with intent to distribute more than 20 kilograms of cocaine.
Hinojosa was charged in an indictment returned on March 7, 2012. While he was the only defendant named in the indictment, Hinojosa had been implicated by a number of other defendants in other indictments, five of whom testified for the government at trial.
During the trial, which began on Wednesday, the government presented photos, a short video and financial documents all illustrating evidence of Hinojosa’s illegal activities. Testimony was further offered by law enforcement officers with several agencies involved in the case.
Hinojosa was a former bodyguard for Hector Manuel Sauceda- Gamboa, aka KARIS, a now deceased Gulf Cartel plaza boss in Reynosa, Mexico. Evidence at trial demonstrated Hinojosa operated a narcotics trafficking organization responsible for transporting multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Brownsville to Houston. His organization was also responsible for transporting millions of dollars of drug proceeds from Houston to the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros, Mexico.
Previously released on bond, Hinojosa fled and did not appear in court for the third day of trial on Friday. He is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information as to his whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 956-546-6922. At sentencing, he faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a $4 million fine.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation dubbed Operation Spike Strip began targeting Hinojosa in 2010. The participating agencies included the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Cameron County District Attorney’s Office-Narcotics Investigation Division and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorneys Jesse Salazar, Robert Wells and Kristen Rees prosecuted the case.