A Chinese-born Mexican businessman accused of drug trafficking has been extradited to Mexico after nearly a decade after his arrest in the United States.
Zhenli Ye Gon, 53, was arrested in the U.S. in July 2007 after police found piles of cash hidden throughout his Mexico City mansion, totaling $205 million. This bust was reportedly the largest drug cash seizure of all time.
A number of gold-plated military-grade firearms were also found inside the home. Photos of the bust circulated online and went viral.
Ye Gon had legally obtained permits to import pseudoephedrine, a sympathomimetic drug used to treat nasal congestion or promote wakefulness, from Asia to Mexico to supply producers of legal prescription drugs.
However, Mexican authorities allege that Ye Gon actually sold the chemical to Mexican drugs cartels so that they could use it to produce methamphetamine. They claim the money found in his home was all the profits he made from the sales.
Ye Gon, who has no prior criminal record, denies the charges and claims he was holding the cash for a corrupt member of the cabinet for Felipe Calderón, Mexico’s then-President. He alleges that labor minister Javier Lozano had threatened to kill him if he didn’t cooperate, according to Vice.
“In compliance with the extradition treaty between the two countries today, the fugitive from Mexican justice, Ye Gon, was delivered through extradition by the authorities of the government of the United States of America, to our country,” the Attorney General of Mexico said in a statement, adding that Ye Gon “is considered likely responsible for the commission of offenses: organized crime, against health, possession of a firearm exclusive use of the army, navy and air force and operations with illegal proceeds.”
The extradition request was issued by Mexican authorities in 2008, which was granted by the U.S. in 2011. Ye Gon has filed several appeals to no avail. He’s currently being held at Altiplano Federal Prison, the same prison where drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman famously escaped from in 2015.
Ye Gon has also had quite a history with gambling. Between 2004 to 2007, he reportedly lost a whopping $125 million gambling at the Venetian in Las Vegas and other nearby casinos.