A man U.S. authorities call the head of a major Mexican drug gang, the Gulf Cartel, has appeared in a court in Beaumont, Texas.

Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez, from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, was arrested by U.S. federal agents while shopping in Edinburg, Texas on October 9.

He is charged with conspiracy in shipping thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border and with money-laundering.

If convicted on all charges, he faces a maximum of life in prison.

Saenz-Tamez is the latest of several people who have headed the Gulf Cartel following the 2013 arrest of former leader Mario Ramirez-Trevino.