EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The “Grim Reaper” has been sentenced to life behind bars.
Mario Iglesias-Villegas, 37, led a group of assassins, or sicarios, for the Sinaloa cartel, and prosecutors say he played a significant role in the deaths of thousands of people from 2008-11 in Juarez.
They include the kidnappings and murders of a groom on his wedding day, as well as the best man and their uncle. Iglesias-Villegas’ team kidnapped the groom, Rafael Morales-Valencia, his brother and best man Jaime Morales-Valencia, and their uncle Guadalupe Morales-Arreola outside El Señor de la Misericordia Catholic Church in Juárez, shortly after the wedding on May 7, 2010.
Cartel members took the men to separate safe houses where they stored guns, drugs, and money — the brothers in one and Morales-Arreola in another, and that is where they were tortured and killed.
According to testimony, a hitman sought revenge for the murder of his father, allegedly at the hand of the rival Juarez cartel.
Iglesias-Villegas’ trial in federal court in El Paso was part of a grander indictment by a federal grand jury that included Sinaloa cartel leaders Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Ismael “Mayo” Zambada Garcia.
In October, a jury found him guilty of various counts, including conspiracy to violate the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization statute (RICO); conspiracy to possess cocaine and marijuana; conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana; conspiracy to launder money; conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes; and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country; kidnapping; and five counts of violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity.
On Thursday, Iglesias-Villegas was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.
He stood trial alongside Arturo Shows Urquidi, aka “Chous,” a former state police officer who secured stash houses where tanker trucks carrying cocaine were unloaded and reloaded with weapons and cash. Urquidi was sentenced to life in prison earlier this month.
Iglesias-Villegas, who is from Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, became a member of the Sinaloa Cartel under Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman-Loera in early 2008.
In addition to “Grim Reaper,” Iglesias-Villas is known as “Dos,” “El 2,” “Delta,” and “Parka.”
“With the sentencing of Mario Iglesias-Villegas, another significant member of the Sinaloa Cartel who was responsible for so much violence and misery in neighboring Ciudad Juarez more than a decade ago, has been brought to justice,” said Greg Millard, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s El Paso Division. “DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to pursue the arrest, extradition, conviction and sentencing of violent drug traffickers who harm our communities, no matter how long it takes.”