Spouse of Gulf Cartel Plaza Boss Is Sentenced to 7 Years in US Prison For Money Laundering

Latin America World

“Morogris” for Borderland Beat

Jessenia Flores Salinas, sentenced last Tuesday, is the wife of Hugo Armando Cortinas Salinas, alias La Cabra (The Goat, pictured above). He was arrested in Mexico in May 2023.

The spouse of an alleged leader of the Gulf Cartel in Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas, has been handed a sentence of slightly over seven years in prison. In addition to this, she will lose ownership of her property in Roma and more than $800,000 in cash as part of the forfeiture.

Jessenia Flores-Salinas, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering on October 5, 2022, received her sentencing on a Tuesday. Jessenia, along with her sister Julia Judith Flores Salinas and another woman named Alyssa Giselle Vera, was apprehended in late 2021.

All three had previously admitted their guilt to the same charge. Julia was given a prison sentence of more than six years, whereas Vera’s sentence amounted to one and a half years.

Jessenia is married to Hugo Armando Cortinas Salinas, alias La Cabra (The Goat) or Metro 7, who was the leader of the Gulf Cartel in Miguel Aleman municipality. Cortinas-Salinas was arrested in May 2023 by Mexican security forces and remains behind bars.

The trio’s arrest occurred during a period when authorities, including agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Border Patrol, and the Starr County Sheriff’s Office, were engaged in surveillance at Jessenia’s residence located in Roma.

The criminal complaint documented that law enforcement observed an individual resembling Cortinas-Salinas at the residence. They then witnessed Jessenia and a minor arriving in a white Kia SUV and exchanging greetings with this individual.

Subsequently, upon their departure, sheriff’s deputies carried out a traffic stop that revealed all the occupants of the vehicle, including the individual resembling the plaza boss, were in the country without legal authorization.

It remains uncertain from the complaint whether the individual was indeed the plaza boss.

Furthermore, no complaints or indictments against Cortinas Salinas can be located in federal court records.

Upon securing permission to search the Roma residence, investigators discovered $809,980 in cash. The complaint elaborated that during the search, agents uncovered a substantial amount of currency concealed within shoeboxes and backpacks within the master bathroom and closet.

Additionally, further bulk currency was located in hidden compartments of an entertainment center within the living room. Surveillance at the residence was initiated subsequent to Vera’s detention on October 22, 2021, at the Roma port of entry.

Vera was found in possession of $9,230 as she attempted to enter the United States. During questioning, she confessed to having previously smuggled approximately $50,000 in cash from Mexico into the residence, attributing the money to earnings from human smuggling.

Sources: MyRGV; Pacer Monitor; Milenio; Borderland Beat archives

Note: The Roma, Texas, address was omitted from this report but it is cited in public court records and in the sources above