News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2009
Contact: Joanna DeSanto
Number: 312-886-2597

26 Indicted in Minnesota
Alleged Connection to Cocaine, Methamphetamine Distribution

MAY 13 -- (Minneapolis) Twenty-six individuals were recently indicted in connection with a Mexican-based drug cartel that allegedly distributed methamphetamine and cocaine throughout Minnesota for the past several years. The indictment was unsealed following the arrest of 23 individuals in Minnesota and Texas on April 29, 2009.

Charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine are:
Roberto Guadalupe Aleman, 28, Hidalgo, Texas;
Maria Isabel Aleman, 61, Hidalgo;
Juan Fidel Aleman, 31, Swanville, Minnesota;
Daniel Armando Aleman, 30, Hidalgo;
Ernesto Jimenez Guzman, 36, Hidalgo;
Jesus Villanueva, 36, Mission, Texas;
Nicolas Lara Munoz, 48, Burnsville, Minnesota;
Josue Azahael Garza, 19, Mission;
Emily Judith Balderas, 26, McAllen, Texas;
Arcelia Reyes, 37, McAllen;
Andres Guzman Fegaroa, 24, Mission;
Maria Luisa Stay, 28, Princeton, Minnesota;
Maria Almaguer, 40, Cold Spring, Minnesota;
Oscar Damian Limon, 30, Faribault, Minnesota
Bartolo Enrique Vega, Jr., 40 Owatonna, Minnesota;
Carlos Alejandro Azham Martinez, 31, Owatonna;
David Paul Harlander, 54, St. Joseph, Minnesota;
Luiz Gerardo Flores, 27, St Paul
Refugio Hernandez-Muniz, 51, Donnelly, Minnesota;
Rafael Quintanilla, 36, Hidalgo;
Ricardo Quintanilla, 36, Hidalgo;
Luiz Manuel Roman, 36, Hidalgo;
Miriam Leal, 29, Mission;
Alejandro Paz, 33, Hidalgo; and
Martin Jimenez, 32, North Freedom, Wisconsin

Also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering are: Roberto Aleman, Maria Aleman, Daniel Aleman, Miranda, Villanueva, Munoz, Stay, Almaguer, Rafael Quintanilla, Ricardo Quintanilla, Roman, Leal, Paz, and Jimenez.

Another individual was also arrested and charged in connection with the drug organization. Rodolfo Tello-Aros, 43, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota was charged via criminal complaint with one count of possession with intent to distribute approximately 1,000 grams of cocaine.

The indictment alleges that from December 29, 2005 through April 20, 2009, the 26 defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other and others to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine and 5 or more kilograms of cocaine. One kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds. The indictment also alleges that the defendants charged with money laundering conspired to conduct more than $2.4 million in financial transactions by depositing money into various Minnesota accounts in increments under $10,000. The money was then withdrawn in Texas on or about the same day with the intent to avoid the federal reporting requirements. In drug law enforcement, depositing money in this manner is also known as “smurfing.”

“It is a proud day for the law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to dismantle an illegal drug organization that attempted to entrench its operations within Minnesota,” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division which oversees the Minneapolis District Office. “DEA and our counterparts are committed to ensuring that Minnesotans have a safe place to raise their families. Safe from the harmful effects of drugs on our youth and safe from the violence that often accompanies those who supply, transport and distribute illegal drugs.”

Bernard J. Zapor, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol. Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives St Paul Division stated, "Cocaine is not manufactured in Minnesota, so it takes a violent criminal syndicate to bring and distribute it here. It took some very dedicated law enforcement officers working together to stop this contagion."

According to the affidavit, the organization was being supplied directly by the Gulf Cartel, a Mexican-based poly-drug trafficking organization that distributes cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin in the United States.

Over the course of the investigation, police seized more than $505,000 in four separate seizures, including one at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. In addition to the cash seizures, over 41 kilograms of cocaine has been seized in both Minnesota and Texas. On April 29, 2009, search warrants were served in Minnesota at residences in Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Cold Spring, Saint Wendel Township and St. Cloud. Those warrants resulted in the seizure of four firearms, 12 vehicles, cocaine, cash and assorted drug paraphernalia.

The investigation was a joint law enforcement effort involving the DEA and ATF, with the following agencies assisting: The Central Minnesota Drug Gang Task Force, and the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport Police Department with assistance from the St. Paul Police Department, St. Cloud Police Department, the Northwest Metro Task Force, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the South Central Drug Investigation Unit, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Duluth Police Department, the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota Gang Strike Force. It is being prosecuted by District of Minnesota Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey M. Bryan and Christian S. Wilton with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

The public is reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty either in a court of law or by guilty plea.