A Texas drug lord who owned a produce company that shipped large quantities of marijuana and cocaine to northern US cities was like a real-life character from the show “Breaking Bad,” Rolling Stone noted this month in an article about a corrupt anti-narcotics force.
Tomas “El Gallo” Gonzalez was arrested in 2013 after a three-year investigation into his cold-storage company, T&F produce. That company, whose logo was a chicken, was a front for a major drug trafficking organisation, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
For those familiar with the hit show “Breaking Bad,” this trafficking ring — which lasted over three years — sounds a lot like the one run by Gus Fring, a fictitious kingpin. In the show, Fring’s fast food chain Los Pollos Hermanos covers up a huge drug operation that smuggles drugs in trucks marked with a large chicken logo from a warehouse in a remote part of the desert.
In real life, five men who drove trailers for Gonzalez told DEA agents they had often transported up to 7,000 pounds of marijuana and several 100-pound loads of cocaine while working for Gonzalez, the Monitor reported in 2013.
The marijuana and cocaine would be packed into tractor-trailers full of vegetables and shipped from Weslaco, Texas to cities across the US. The trucks would transport drugs as far north as Iowa pretending to be an import-export business specializing in transporting produce, Rolling Stone reported.
Authorities began looking into Gonzalez’s organisation on July 30, 2013 when they stopped a T&F Produce tractor-trailer carrying more than 600 pounds of marijuana.
The real-life Gus Fring had been on Homeland Security’s radar for more than two years before this traffic stop allowed narcotics agents to obtain a warrant for his arrest. He was finally arrested in August 2013 at his Texas ranch in the sugarcane fields just outside of Weslaco, Rolling Stone reported.
Mexican corridas, or ballads, have immortalised Gonzalez’s drug exploits, and he had made large campaign donations that did not go unnoticed, the Monitor reported. (Gus Fring on “Breaking Bad” was also in bed with public officials.)
At the entrance of his mansion Gonzalez had put signs up supporting the re-election of Hidalgo County Lupe Sheriff Treviño, who had allegedly accepted over $US1 million worth of illegal campaign donations from the kingpin. Treviño was eventually sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering, according to Rolling Stone.
Gonzalez got 10 years in federal prison in November, Fox Rio reported, though he would have received a harsher sentence had he not cooperated with authorities to help bring down Treviño. His logistics coordinator and right-hand man, pee wee football coach Omar Fidencio Rojas, received 15 years and a $US300,000 fine.
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