Two high-profile targets from rival drug cartels — a son of the reputed head of the Sinaloa organization, as well as an alleged leader of Tijuana’s once-powerful Arellano Félix Organization — appeared together in the same San Diego courtroom Friday after being discreetly extradited to face U.S. charges.
Ismael Zambada Imperial, in his mid-30s, has been in Mexican custody since November 2014, charged in a wide-ranging indictment against Sinaloa cartel leadership that describes an international trafficking empire headed by his father, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, who is named as lead defendant.
Gustavo Rivera, 58, is named in a similar indictment, yet with different players.
Rivera, who grew up in Chula Vista, was arrested by Mexican authorities nearly 12 years ago at a hot dog stand in San Jose del Cabo on a 2003 indictment alleging his role as a financier and advisor in the Arellano Félix Organization, or AFO for short.
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