War on Drugs

Alleged Mexican Drug Kingpin Pleads Not Guilty, DOJ Says Arrest Led to Violent Drug Cartel War


Alfredo Leyva Beltran
Eje Central

Alfredo Beltran Leyva, allegedly a former leader of the drug cartel Beltran Leyva Organization, entered a not guilty plea in federal court in Washington, D.C. yesterday after being extradited over the weekend from Mexico, where he was arrested in January 2008. He was indicted by federal prosecutors in 2012

According to a Department of Justice release, after his arrest the Leyva organization blamed another group, the Sinaloa Cartel, for Beltran Leyva's capture, causing a "violent war between the two drug cartels, and the murder of thousands of citizens in Mexico, including numerous law enforcement officers and officials."

After his 2008 arrest, the Leyva organization was added to a "Blocked Persons" list under the Kingpin Act and Beltran Leyva himself was later "specifically designated…  as a specially designated drug trafficker under the same Kingpin Act." The DOJ insists in the same release that Leyva "is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty."

Beltran Leyva's entered his not guilty plea through a public defender, according to the Washington Post, but says his family will provide him a lawyer. Beltran Leyva's 2008 arrest did nothing to stem the flow of narcotics across the Americas, but it did, by the Department of Justice's own admission, increase the level of drug-related violence in Mexico, an expected consequence of a drug war offensive.