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|Abigael González Valencia (“El Cuini”)|
Víctor Manuel Méndez Cortés, head of the Fourth Unitary Court of the State of Mexico, refused to authorize Abigael González Valencia (“El Cuini”) to return to the North Preventive Prison (Spanish: Reclusorio Preventivo Norte) in Mexico City. He will remain in prison at the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 1 (“Altiplano”), Mexico’s maximum-security prison.
El Cuini is a former leader of the criminal group Los Cuinis, a clan of at least 18 siblings who reportedly manage the money laundering networks of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). Along with his brother-in-law Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes (alias “El Mencho”), El Cuini reportedly coordinated international drug trafficking operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. He was also responsible for managing the financial operations of the CJNG and Los Cuinis.
He worked for the Milenio Cartel in the 1990s, and eventually formed part of the original group that founded the CJNG and Los Cuinis in the 2010s. He was arrested on February 28, 2015, in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.
Imprisonment and extradition
In January 2020, El Cuini was able to halt his extradition to the U.S. after judge Rosa María Cervantes Mejía approved his motion. The court made this decision because Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE) did not mention the charges El Cuini was facing in Mexico in the extradition request, and was told that if they were to request a new process, they would have to include the charges in Mexico.
The prosecution had filed an extradition request through the SRE following a petition from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. El Cuini is wanted in the U.S. for organized crime involvement, money laundering and international drug trafficking.
El Cuini has been in multiple prisons across Mexico since his arrest. In 2018, he was transferred to the Federal Social Readaptation Center No. 14 (“CPS Durango”), a maximum-security prison in Gómez Palacio, Durango. El Cuini complained about the transfer and stated that the prison was not giving him adequate healthcare conditions and was keeping him segregated from the rest of the prison population. He asked a court to transfer him back to Altiplano because he stated that he feared for his life.
In February 2019, El Cuini was transferred to North Preventative Prison. His transfer caused tensions after several prison guards complained to their management about receiving death threats and seeing vehicles with gunmen outside the prison. The guards asked their management to change the area of the prison they work in and their work schedules.
Under fears of a prison escape, authorities transferred El Cuini back to Altiplano on 27 July. A week earlier, a video circulated on social media that the CJNG was planning to help El Cuini escape from prison.