DOJ: 13 drug traffickers with ties to Mexican cartel sentenced to combined 235 years in federal prison

DALLAS, TX– According to a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ) U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas, 13 drug traffickers have been sentenced to more than 235 years combined in federal prison.

The individuals were arrested following an investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah stated that all 13 individuals have ties to a Mexican drug cartel and each defendant plead guilty to their charges.

Each defendant has been charged and sentenced to their respective roles in a drug distribution conspiracy and money laundering scheme that operated in North Texas, Mexico, and elsewhere from March 2018 to August 2018.

Each defendant was either an associate or a member of a Dallas based drug trafficking organization with ties to a cartel in Mexico associated with the Zeta Cartel. 

During the investigation, DEA agents seized more than 55 kilos of cocaine with a wholesale value of $1,457,500, 92 kilos of methamphetamine with a wholesale value of $570,400, and 822.8 pounds of marijuana. Reportedly, cash seizures in this one case totaled $145,229.

According to court documents, some of the defendants in the case imported the cocaine and methamphetamines from a Mexican based drug cartel with prior ties to Los Zetas.

The documents also stated that large quantities of methamphetamines and marijuana were stored at an apartment located in the Dallas Design District.

From there, the defendants would sell drugs locally throughout the Dallas area before transporting the drug proceeds to other areas of the country. The money from the sale of those controlled substances were then sent back to cocaine and methamphetamine suppliers in Mexico.

Shah said in a statement:

“We will not allow drug traffickers, members or their affiliates to bring their nefarious and deadly activities into our neighborhoods. Working with our state and local partners and using the tools of our Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, we are determined to dismantle drug trafficking networks.” 

DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge, Eduardo A. Chávez, added:

“For years. Los Zetas and its successor, El Cártel del Noreste, have tried to use the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex as a hub to distribute drugs throughout the United States. These convictions and prison terms should send a strong message to others that drug trafficking and its related violent crimes are not welcome here.”

He added:

“DEA Dallas and our partners at the Texoma HIDTA as well as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, will continue to identify, disrupt, and destroy these criminal organizations that choose to distribute drugs to our streets.”

According to the press release, the defendants sentenced in connection with this case are:

Chrystian Hernandez, 23, Dallas, Texas was sentenced on October 8, 2020 to 10 years in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiring to launder monetary instruments;

Veronica Angeles, 51, Forth Worth, Texas was sentenced on September 28, 2020 to 97 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine;

Jose Sanchez, 36, Little Elm, Texas was sentenced on June 25, 2020 to 151 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine;

Cesar Ortiz, 40, Chihuahua, Mexico was sentenced on September 8, 2020 to 46 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder monetary instruments;

Jakovan Lewis, 39, Desoto, Texas was sentenced on September 2, 2020 to 70 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine;

Roberto Rodriguez Salinas, 39, Nuevo Laredo, Tamualipas, Mexico was sentenced on June 12, 2020 to 57 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiring to possess with intent to distribute;

Marcus Morones, 58, Dallas, Texas was sentenced on May 6, 2020 to 41 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments;

Jose Guadalupe Silva, 32, Dallas, Texas was sentenced on August 23, 2019 to 210 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine;

Moris Franco, 34, Dallas, Texas was sentenced on March 3, 2021 to 135 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine;

Daniel Don Juan, 30, Cleburne, Texas was sentenced on. March 16, 2021 to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments;

Tomas Salinas, 51, Dallas, Texas was sentenced on March 17, 2021 to 210 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; and

Pete Torres, 31, Dallas, Texas was sentenced on March 25, 2021 to 46 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

The 13th defendant, 30-year-old Jorge Llanas of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced Thursday, April 15th, by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle to a total of 28 years confinement on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

All the defendants arrested have plead guilty and have been sentenced. One defendant remains a fugitive. Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Leal and Rachael Jones were in charge of these prosecutions. 

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What border crisis? CBP seizes $1.3M worth of meth hidden within spinach shipment

March 14th, 2021

OTAY MESA, CA – According to officials, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers who were working the Otay Mesa commercial facility earlier in March discovered over 500 pounds of suspected methamphetamine – which the suspected narcotics were disguised as a shipment of spinach. 

At approximately 6:30 p.m. on March 10th, CBP officers working the Otay Mesa commercial facility encountered a 49-year-old tractor-trailer driver that was carrying a load of what appeared to be fresh spinach.

Except, officers would soon find that this wasn’t an ordinary shipment of veggies. 

During an inspection of the tractor-trailer, CBP officers had referred the driver of the vehicle to continue on to the X-ray imaging system located within the port. 

While the tractor-trailer was undergoing the X-ray examination, CBP officers noticed that there was something awry within the shipment of spinach – and promptly referred the vehicle over to a more thorough examination area at the dock. 

A CBP canine team was brought into the fold, and a dog had reportedly alerted to the shipment of spinach. 

Image of meth packages wrapped in paper printed with images of spinach - U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Image of meth packages wrapped in paper printed with images of spinach – U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Upon further inspection of the shipment, CBP officers were said to have found 127 wrapped packages of methamphetamine mixed in with the spinach shipment – with the narcotics weighing in at over 580 pounds. 

Perhaps the most creative twist in this bust was the fact that the packaged methamphetamine was wrapped in paper that bore printed images of spinach on the paper. 

Rosa Hernandez, port director of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry, made the following statement about the seizure: 

“CBP officers continue to expedite legitimate trade and travel without letting their guard down when it comes to protecting our country. We are aggressively combating the flow of illegal narcotics and preventing them to reach our communities.”

The driver, identified as a Mexican national, was later handed over to ICE HSI agents – who in turn transported the driver over to Metropolitan Correction Center in San Diego where he awaits federal charges. 

The vehicle and narcotics were also seized by CBP officers, with the estimated street value of the methamphetamine being around $1.3 million. 

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When it comes to narcotics smuggling, there’s no shortage of creative attempts to get illicit product into the United States. 

Earlier this month, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report on the discovery of cocaine-filled teddy bears being discovered in Florida. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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JACKSONVILLE, FL– Criminals are continually coming up with new and creative ways to smuggle illegal narcotics into the United States. This newly discovered drug operation out of Florida utilized a popular children’s toy in order to avoid suspicion. 

On Thursday, March 4th, the Department of Homeland Security along with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced that three men from Jacksonville were arrested for drug trafficking between the United States and Puerto Rico.  

Police say 28-year-old Edgar Lopez, 24-year-old Yaddiel Lopes, and Cassidy Martinez-Iglesias were attempting to run a narcotics distribution network via the U.S. Postal Service in Jacksonville, Florida.

An investigation was opened that involved multiple agencies including the United States Postal Service, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency Puerto Rico, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

CBS47 reported that Drug authorities in Puerto Rico first contacted the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in January regarding a suspicious package that was to be delivered to Edgar Lopez’s residence in Jacksonville.

The package contained a stuffed animal, a teddy bear, filled with two kilos of cocaine and a tracking device, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director Mike Bruno.

Following this information, the United States Postal Service discovered a second package that was to be delivered from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico.

Upon further investigation, the United States Postal Service agents discovered the package contained another teddy bear, however this bear was full of cash instead of narcotics.

The return address was reportedly an apartment complex on Mayport Road where Yaddiel allegedly worked.

According to investigators, the suspects used multiple locations within Jacksonville where they would ship and receive the illegal narcotics, including businesses and private residences. 

On February 23rd, following the discovery of a third suspicious package which was en route to Mayport Road from Puerto Rico, narcotics detectives, United States Postal Service postal inspectors, and a Florida Highway Patrol canine handler met at the Post Office in Jacksonville to determine the contents of box.

They once again discovered a teddy bear that was stuffed with cocaine, CBS47 reported.

According to Mike Bruno, on February 26th, an undercover operation was conducted at the apartment complex on Mayport Road. Officers were able to successfully take all three men were taken into custody.

It is reported that Police seized over 5 kilos of cocaine, $130,000 in cash, various firearms, and BMW.

 
Recent reports are showcasing a concerning trend relating to overdose deaths in the United States, with over 83,500 people having died from an overdose in the 12-month period ending July 2020. 
 
According to the data, fatal overdoses have increased by approximately 24%.
 
These shocking numbers prompted the CDC to issue a health advisory back on December 17th of 2020, specifically making mention of fentanyl-related deaths and the rise in overdoses in correlation to lockdown measures enacted at the onset of the pandemic.
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The post DOJ: 13 drug traffickers with ties to Mexican cartel sentenced to combined 235 years in federal prison appeared first on Law Enforcement Today.

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Author: Jenna Curren


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