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Son of ex-Gulf Cartel drug lord sentenced in Brownsville for impersonating a federal agent and gun charge

August 27, 2018

The son of a notorious Gulf Cartel kingpin who waved a gun in a crowded Brownsville bar and falsely claimed to be a federal agent is headed to prison.

His drug lord father, sentenced to a 25-year federal prison sentence in a supermax prison in Colorado, was once ranked among “America’s Most Wanted” fugitives.

Osiel Cárdenas Jr., 26, known in crime circles as “Mini Osiel” or “Osielillo,” was sentenced in Brownsville on Monday to more than two years in prison after pleading guilty to weapons possession and impersonating a federal agent. U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. also ordered him to serve three years of supervised release and pay a $15,000 fine.

RELATED: Pretending to be a U.S. marshal with a gun in a bar? Former Gulf Cartel leader’s son admits guilt

The defendant’s father Osiel Cárdenas-Guillén, 51, a Mexican drug trafficker from Matamoros across the river from Brownsville, rose to the top ranks of the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas in the late 1990s and early 2000s earning the nickname “El Mata Amigos” or the Friend Killer because he allegedly killed a friend to get the top job.

Cárdenas Jr., his son, was apprehended on March 14 at at SKY Bar and Lounge in Brownsville for public intoxication, according to court documents. Someone had called police reporting a person had been brandishing a firearm. At the scene, the person was identified as Cárdenas Jr. When Brownsville police attempted to arrest him, Cárdenas Jr. claimed to be a U.S. Marshal. He asked the officer to check the badge inside his shirt. Under his shirt and hanging from his neck was a gold colored Cameron County District Attorney’s badge. Inside his car, police found a .380 caliber pistol.

Witnesses at the scene said that Cárdenas Jr., a U.S. citizen born in Texas but raised in Mexico, had ordered patrons to exit the nightclub or they faced arrest for failing to follow his orders. At the time of his arrest, Cardenas was on supervised release for a 2015 drug trafficking conviction, according to wire reports.

Cárdenas’ lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cárdenas Jr. also has a prior conviction for driving while intoxicated. In 2015, he was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison for attempting to smuggle hundreds of rounds of military-grade ammunition over the Rio Grande and into Mexico on New Year’s Eve. Cárdenas Jr. admitted to having more than 14 grams of marijuana concealed in his underwear at the time of that arrest.

During a sentencing hearing on the ammunition and drug charges in May 2015, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen told him, “You’re at a crossroads … you need to decide which way you’re going to go.” He added, “If you follow down the same pathway as your father, you’re going to end up in the same place.”

gabrielle.banks@chron.com

twitter.com/gabmobanks

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