Esparragoza's trafficking career dates back to the Guadalajara Cartel under Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, Rafael Caro Quintero and Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Following the arrest of Gallardo, it is believed Esparragoza moved to the leadership role within the Guadalajara Cartel prior to its dissolution. Gallardo bestowed upon his nephews who operated The Tijuana Cartel, the location and operations of the Guadalajara Cartel.
Esparragoza was believed to have had a role in the death of United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique Camarena. In 1982, Camarena was informed of a large scale marijuana growing operation in which Carrillo, Esparragoza and Quintero, had turned 220 acres (0.89 km2) of land near San Luis Potosí into a marijuana field. The DEA began to do aerial reconnaissance and eventually committed to raiding the field, seizing 200 tons of marijuana. The DEA however failed to apprehend anyone, rumored to be due to a Judicial Police officer informing the cartel members of the pending operation.
Camarena, along with his pilot Alfredo Zavala, were kidnapped on February 7, 1985, tortured and murdered by the Guadalajara Cartel for his role in hindering their operations.
Esparragoza was arrested in 1986 by police commander Florentino Ventura, who flaunted openly that he was the one who put Esparragoza behind bars. Esparragoza served seven years in 'Reclusorio Sur' prison and was released. Soon after, commander Florentino Ventura and other of his captors were all killed.
Esparragoza is believed to have joined The Juarez Cartel (Carrillo Fuentes Organization) in 1993 where he operated as a top lieutenant and operations chief. Following the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes during a plastic surgery procedure, Esparragoza was rumored to have assumed a leadership position alongside Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, brother to Amado, and Hector Luis Palma Salazar of The Sinaloa Cartel. The cocaine and trafficking connection he created in Peru and Colombia are believed to have made him a primary leader in The Juarez Cartel.
In addition to cocaine contacts, Esparragoza is also known as a peace maker, forging alliances between other major cartels and resolving disputes. Most recently he has been linked to negotiating peace deals in Nuevo Laredo between The Juarez Cartel and Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano of The Los Zetas Organization as well as Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sánchez of The Gulf Cartel.
The Federation / Sinaloa AllianceEdit
Esparragoza has most recently been linked to leading "The Federation", an alliance of the Sinaloa, Juárez and Sonora (Caro-Quintero Organization) cartels.
Esparragoza is currently wanted in the United States DEA where there is a USD$5 million reward for information leading to his capture, while Mexico is offering a $2 million dollars reward.
Kingpin Act sanctionsEdit
The United States Department of the Treasury placed economic sanctions on nine entities and ten individuals linked to Esparragoza Moreno on 24 June 2012. In the statement, the United States froze the assets of the drug lord's family members, which consisted of several gas stations, a shopping center, a housing company, and other businesses. The Treasury blacklisted the ten individuals and prohibited U.S. companies from doing business with them. Six of the ten people sanctioned were family members of Esparragoza Moreno: two wives and four of his children. One of his wives, however, owned a property directly under his name. The other wife was sanctioned for owning seven gas stations on Esparragoza Moreno's behalf.
The Treasury called Esparragoza Moreno a "godfather of Mexican narcotics" who has used illicit money to build a network in the legitimate business. While other Mexican drug lords have sought for more attention, Esparragoza Moreno tried to keep a low-profile in hopes of avoiding detection. Mexican investigators, however, have expressed their frustrations in the announcements the United States makes on the kingpin act designations, because they say that U.S. officials do not provide the evidences necessary to prosecute the drug lords and their associates in Mexican courts.