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An Indiana Beauty Queen Was Arrested in a Bust of a Mexican Drug Gang That Also Caught One of the Fbi’s Most Wanted Criminals


A beauty queen from Indiana was caught up in a large drug bust that had been planned for years and had ties to a Mexican drug gang.

Glenis Zapata, 34, was named Miss Indiana Latina in 2011. A federal charge says she used her job as a flight attendant to move drug money from Chicago to the southern states and into Mexico.

On August 7, 2019, she was charged with transporting $170,000 in cash, and on September 10, 2019, she was charged with at least $140,000 in cash.

It was federal police who caught Oswaldo Espinosa, who was one of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) most wanted criminals. Zapata was one of 18 suspects who were arrested.

Three more people were taken in connection with the capture of Oswaldo Espinosa by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces. They were Zapata, his sister Ilenis Zapata, and Georgina Banuelos, who worked as bank tellers.

The most recent federal charge, which was filed on May 16, says that Espinosa is the leader of a multimillion-dollar drug trafficking ring based in Mexico that brought thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the US.

From 2018 to 2023, Espinosa hired people like Zapata who didn’t stand out as part of his alleged illegal business. The money and drugs were hidden in warehouses and garages all over Chicago.

The indictment says that money and drugs were moved from stash houses in the Midwest to the south of the U.S. and into Mexico on semi-trailer trucks and planes, “including on commercial flights and with the help of Glenis Zapata.”

Court records show that Espinosa was in charge of his own Mexican drug trafficking group (DTO) called the Espinosa DTO.

Eight drug trafficking operations were listed from 2021 to 2023, and fifteen cash transports were listed from November 2019 to March 2022. The charges against Zapata were included in the last file.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, which were made to go after big drug rings in the U.S., led the investigation into Espinosa.

Big cartels like The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel are much stronger than the ESPINOSA DTO. These groups control most of Mexico and its ports, and their ties reach all the way to the U.S.

According to a report published in September 2023 by Science, there are about 150 Mexican drug cartels of different sizes, with about 175,000 “active members” (as of 2022).

A lot of these organized crime groups also run illegal businesses in the US and bring drugs and money across the border.

The Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels are said to be Mexico’s “most powerful and ruthless cartels” in a study released in May. These cartels are said to serve all 50 states.

The report said that meth and fenantyl are the main drugs that both cartels sell. It also said that Mexican cartels have “caused the worst drug crisis in US history.”

One of the main goals of government law enforcement is to break up large drug operations.

The DEA report says that in 2023, police within 150 miles of the border seized nearly 600 large amounts of cash worth a total of $18 million.

“DEA’s top operational priority is to relentlessly pursue and defeat the two Mexican drug cartels … that are primarily responsible for driving the current fentanyl poisoning epidemic in the United States,” it says.

The plan “puts resources into the U.S.’s most violence- and overdose-plagued cities to target the violent dealers who kill thousands of Americans every week with fentanyl and with weapons.”

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