SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Angel Dominguez Jr., grew up in the border town of Roma, Texas, after his family emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico when he was 8 years old.
Along the way, he gained dual citizenship and joined the Marine Corps after high school.
While stationed in North Carolina in November 1994, he flipped his car and fell off a bridge into a stream while trying to avoid a deer in the road.
Dominguez was seriously injured, but his two daughters, aged 3 and 4, died in the accident
His injuries were so severe that the Marines gave Dominguez a medical discharge, ending his military career and his dream of becoming a member of an elite special forces unit.
After leaving the military, Dominguez struggled to find steady work.
Years later, he was arrested in Texas trying to cross the border with a shipment of marijuana. He pleaded guilty and spent 13 months in federal prison.
Upon his release, he went to work for his brother-in-law in the construction industry, but the work dried up as the housing market crashed.
In 2007, according to his attorney, Dominguez moved to Mexico where he met people smuggling marijuana and cocaine into the United States.
Domingues developed relationships with cartels across Mexico and Latin America, though he reportedly used his wits and large bribes to work with Mexican lawmakers and law enforcement.
“He never made an apology for the direction he took, only to say that after the accident he stopped caring. He was numb,” according to the defense attorney Nancee Schwartz, who made the comments in a written sentencing document, “He didn’t think about the consequences or care because he had been through the worst.”
Earlier this week, 28 years after the accident, Dominguez, now 50, was sentenced to 195 months in prison, according to a press release issued by the Department of Justice.
Prosecutors described him as the “undisputed leader” of an underworld group called “El Seguimiento 39”, also known as “The Company” or “El Seg 39”.
Prosecutors say Dominguez ran a network that transported drugs to the United States and laundered money for several rival drug cartels in Mexico, including the Sinaloa Cartel, Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, Los Zetas and d ‘others.
“The wiretap evidence demonstrates he was in control of every aspect of his organization,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Martin wrote in a sentencing memorandum, according to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Dominguez relied on co-conspirators to negotiate and control drug routes, find sources of supply, and prevent law enforcement from thwarting his trafficking, but ultimately he gave the orders to each of these co-conspirators.”
U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes noted the “staggering” amount of cocaine Dominguez was smuggling.
Dominguez and his group allegedly smuggled, on average, 10 tons of cocaine into the United States per month while laundering at least $10 million in drug proceeds into Mexico on a monthly basis.
“Today’s sentencing sends the message that even the leaders of the most powerful criminal organizations will be held accountable,” said US Attorney Randy Grossman.
But Dominguez’s attorney wrote that the allegations against his client were never supported by any evidence offered by prosecutors.
Dominguez was arrested in Mexico in 2016 and extradited to San Diego.
He agreed to a plea deal seven months ago, admitting his involvement in an international drug distribution ring and money laundering scheme.
According to his sentencing record, Dominguez will get credit for six years already served in custody.