Last of Drug Thugs Sentenced in Mexican Missile Case

By Dirk Hanson 05/12/11

The Sinaloa drug cartel attempted to purchase some seriously badass hardware.

Mexican drug cartels want one.
Photo via thinkstockphotos

A Stinger missile is a very handy thing to have. The launcher is portable, shoulder-ready, and the surface-to-air missile itself has an infrared detector able to lock onto just about anything in the sky below 10,000 feet that happens to give off steady heat—like engine exhaust. It is particularly good at shooting down airplanes, and perhaps it’s no surprise that members of Sinaloan drug cartels in Mexico would like to own a few. David Diaz-Sosa, whose profession was guns and drugs, set about seeing what he could do. With a down payment of 4 1/2 pounds of methamphetamine, Diaz-Sosa began negotiating on behalf of Sinaloa, the largest drug syndicate in Mexico. Unfortunately for Diaz-Sosa, he was negotiating with U.S. federal agents working undercover. For the next few months, negotiations took place over a laundry list of items: A couple of anti-tank weapons, some AT-4 84-mm smoothbores, two Def Tech grenade launchers, an M-60 machine gun, a .30 caliber machine gun, a few cases of hand grenades—and that tasty Stinger.

Diaz-Sosa and his accomplices were arrested, and the last of them—Jorge DeJesus-Casteneda, 22—was found guilty by a federal jury in Phoenix last week, according to a report in the White Mountain Independent. “It is a chilling thought that warring Mexican drug cartels are actively seeking military-grade anti-aircraft missiles and explosives in Arizona,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke, “so I am extremely proud of the work this office and our law enforcement partners have done to uncover and stop this particular scheme.”

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]