Behind the Glamour! Glenis Zapata’s Double Life as a DRUG MONEY COURIER


Glenis Zapata, 34, who was named Miss Indiana Latina in 2011, reportedly used her work as a flight attendant to transport drug money from Chicago to the southern states and Mexico, according to a federal indictment.

She is charged with two counts of money laundering for transporting $170,000 in cash on August 7, 2019, and at least $140,000 on September 10, 2019.

Zapata was one of 18 suspects caught when federal agents apprehended their main target, Oswaldo Espinosa, one of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) most wanted fugitives.

Zapata, along with two bank tellers – Zapata’s sister, Ilenis Zapata, and Georgina Banuelos – were the most recent arrests in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces’ takedown of Oswaldo Espinosa.

According to the most recent federal indictment issued on May 16, Espinosa is the alleged ringleader of a multimillion-dollar drug trafficking operation located in Mexico that flooded US streets with thousands of kilograms of cocaine.

From 2018 until 2023, Espinosa hired seemingly ordinary, under-the-radar laborers like Zapata as part of his alleged criminal organization, which used warehouses and garages throughout Chicago to store money and drugs.

Cash and cocaine were transported onto semi-trailer trucks and planes from Midwest stash houses to the southern US and Mexico, “including via commercial flights and with the assistance of Glenis Zapata,” according to the indictment. According to court documents, Espinosa headed his own Mexican international drug trafficking organization (DTO) known as the Espinosa DTO.

The most recent document, which included the charges against Zapata, included eight drug trafficking operations between 2021 and 2023, as well as 15 cash shipments between November 2019 and March 2022.

The investigation into Espinosa was led by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, which were established to combat significant drug gangs in the United States. The ESPINOSA DTO is a tiny cartel compared to powerhouses such as the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) and El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel, which control practically all of Mexico and its marine ports and have tentacles in the United States.

According to a September 2023 study published in Science, there are over 150 Mexican cartels of various sizes, each with approximately 175,000 “active members” (as of 2022). Many of these organized crime syndicates expand their illicit operations into the United States, smuggling drugs and money across the border.

According to a May DEA assessment, Mexico’s “most powerful and ruthless cartels”—the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels—operate in all fifty states.

According to the report, the Mexican cartels have “caused the worst drug crisis in US history.” Their principal goods are meth and fentanyl.

One of the key missions of federal law enforcement authorities is to dismantle big drug organizations.

The DEA study states that in 2023, law enforcement agencies within 150 miles of the border conducted approximately 600 bulk cash seizures totaling $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,” according to the report.

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