Federal court records say a high-ranking member of the Mexican Gulf cartel was fleeing "certain death" when caught by Border Patrol agents with a gold-plated handgun, cocaine and about $20,000.
The documents filed Monday reveal that Jose Luis Zuniga-Hernandez -- also known as "Comandante Wicho" -- admitted to his role in the cartel's marijuana trafficking operations.
Zuniga also spilled important information about the cartel to federal agents in the course of four lengthy interviews.
But Zuniga's attorney argued in a motion that those interviews were coerced.
The interviews took place in October after the Border Patrol apprehended Zuniga and four other men near the Rio Grande.
Zuniga is charged with illegal re-entry to the U.S. and possession of a firearm by a felon. He has pleaded not guilty.