Feds move to seize Gulf Cartel leader's cash, homes

Federal authorities have moved to seize $20 million dollars in cash, a luxury home east of Rio Hondo and a house in Brownsville as part of an indictment against a jailed Gulf Cartel leader.

A federal grand jury handed down an indictment against 38-year-old Rafael Cardenas-Vela (aka El Junior) and two alleged bodyguards on Friday.

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested the three men following a traffic stop in Port Isabel back in October.

Cardenas-Vela is accused of participating in drug and money laundering conspiracies and fraudulently using visa documents under another person's name.

The two alleged bodyguards were reportedly not armed but indicted for lying to federal agents about Cardenas-Vela's identity.

The Matamoros native is the nephew of jailed Gulf cartel leader Osiel Cardenas-Guillen and slain Gulf Cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas-Guillen.

Osiel Cardenas-Guillen pleaded guilty to federal drug charges late last year and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in February.

Arraignment for for Cardenas-Vela and the two others is set for November 30th in Brownsville.

According to court records, federal officials have moved to seize $20 million dollars in cash, a home off 35698 General Brandt Highway east of Rio Hondo and a house at 1312 Bluewing Circle in northwest Brownsville.