Felipe Cabrera Sarabia, known as “El Inge” or “El Señor de la Sierra”, was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. on Sunday to face his outstanding drug trafficking charges at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.The transfer took place at the Toluca International Airport, where he was handed over to U.S. officials.
U.S. investigators believe that he was a high-ranking Sinaloa Cartel operator who onced worked Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in the state of Durango. In Mexico, Cabrera-Sabraria was fulfilling a 24-year sentence for multiple charges.
Felipe Cabrera-Sarabia was born in Mexico on 23 August 1971. According to the U.S. government, Cabrera-Sarabia was involved in drug trafficking activities since at least 1996. He went by his aliases El Inge, El Señor de la Sierra and Miguel Velazquez Manjarrez.
Cabrera-Sarabia first worked under Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada in the Mexican state of Durango, where he controlled large marijuana and poppy plantations and was responsible for supervising heroin, cocaine and marijuana trafficking activities to the U.S. Most of the cocaine and heroin that was smuggled to the U.S. under Cabrera-Sarabia’s network was sent to the Chicago, Illinois area. The drugs in Chicago were coordinated by the twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores and El Mayo’s eldest son Vicente Zambada Niebla (“El Vicentillo”). U.S. prosecutors have phone recordings between them.
Kingpin Act designation chart displaying the Cabrera-Sarabia network
On 18 March 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned Cabrera-Sarabia and his brothers Jose Luis and Alejandro under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). The U.S. government stated that they were “major heroin and marijuana” suppliers for the Sinaloa Cartel in the state of Durango.
As part of the Kingpin Act, their U.S. assets were frozen and U.S. entities were prohibited from engaging in business transactions with them. The sanction stated that the Cabrera Sarabia brothers had provided material and financial assistance to both El Mayo and El Chapo.
Arrest and conviction
Cabrera-Sarabia was arrested by the Mexican Army on 26 December 2011 in Culiacan, Sinaloa. Mexican investigators said that he was a commander of Gente Nueva, an armed wing responsible for fighting rival cartel members in states like Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango and Sonora. Cabrera-Sarabia was also believed to have been involved in mass disappearances in Durango where victims were bured in mass graves.
In 2018, he was sentenced to 24 years and 3 months in prison for organized crime involvement, illegal possession of military-exclusive firearms, and bribery. He was convicted of bribery because he tried to pay off officials in Mexico’s former Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the National Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN).