McALLEN, TX – Six more people have landed in federal prison for their roles in a large scale drug trafficking organization operating out of Starr County, Texas, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Roel Salinas, 55, of McAllen, Texas, and Mario Alberto Treviño, 40, of Roma, Texas, to 151 and 135 months in prison, respectively, while Francisco Javier Treviño, 29, a legal permanent resident alien residing in Mission, Texas, will serve a 34-month-term. Last Friday, Judge Alvarez also sentenced Ivan Baldomero Vega, 31, of Edinburg, Texas, and Miguel Angel Ramos-Lozano, 39, a legal permanent resident alien residing in Roma. Vega received a 120-month-term, while Ramos-Lozano was sentenced to 135 months. At the sentencing hearings, Judge Alvarez found that Ramos-Lozano and Mario Treviño were managers and/or supervisors in the drug trafficking organization. Following their release from prison, Francisco Trevino, Salinas and Vega will serve three, six and eight-year terms of supervised release, respectively, while Mario Trevino and Ramos-Lozano will be in supervised release for five years. In regard to Mario Trevino, the sentence handed down by Judge Alvarez included the forfeiture of a residence located on the 1000 block of Paisano Street in Roma, Texas to the United States.
The convictions are the result of Nov. 1, 2011, indictment charging more than 20 men with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana as well as substantive counts of drug trafficking and money laundering. A superseding indictment was returned in July 2012 which added conspiracy to import marijuana as well as substantive counts of importation of marijuana by Jesus Eden Landa-Gomez, 38, and Felix Landa-Gomez, 40, both of Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico. The superseding indictment also charged two new defendants with drug trafficking, Trinidad Dominguez, 43, of Roma, Texas, and Yered Morales-Alvarez, 29, of Houston, Texas.
In June 2009, federal agents began investigating the drug trafficking organization which revealed that large loads of marijuana were being imported from Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Once the marijuana was in the United States, the organization stored it in various stash houses in Roma, Mission and Edinburg before transporting it to Houston. During the course of the investigation, agents seized 11 loads of marijuana weighing approximately 4,700 kilograms (five tons) and seized approximately $120,000 in drug proceeds.
The investigation revealed that Mario Trevino and Ramos-Lozano headed a transportation cell responsible for receiving the marijuana from Mexico, stashing it in Roma and transporting it to Hidalgo County. Once the marijuana loads got to Hidalgo County, Vega took custody and stored the marijuana until it was ready to be transported to Houston. Francisco Trevino and Salinas were involved in finding drivers willing to transport the marijuana to Houston.
They have all been in custody since their arrest where they will remain, pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Eight others have also been convicted and sentenced to prison. Juan Norberto Moya, 51 and Jose Antonio Dominguez-Gonzalez, 24, both of Roma, Texas, and Lauro Arturo Treviño Sr., 61, a legal permanent resident alien residing in Roma, each pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute approximately 818 kilograms of marijuana. Moya and Dominguez-Gonzalez were each sentenced to 120 months in prison while Treviño received a 65-month term of imprisonment. Roberto Lee Coronado, 33, of Edinburg, Texas, and Felipe Ramirez, 29, a legal permanent resident residing in Roma, both pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute approximately 285 kilograms of marijuana and were sentenced to 52 and 37 months, respectively. Elias Loredo-Martinez, 42, a legal permanent resident alien residing in Escobares, Texas, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute approximately 305 kilograms of marijuana and was later sentenced to 37 months in prison. Jose Heriberto Jara, 42, a Mexican citizen residing in Penitas, Texas, was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and was sentenced to 46 months in prison, while Baldomero Vega, 57, of Edinburg, Texas, was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and was sentenced to 135 months in prison.
Lauro Arturo Trevino, Jr., 36, of Roma, Guadalupe Garcia, 53, of Houston, and Walter Jorge Araiza-Rivera, 30, a Mexican citizen residing in Edinburg, previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. The cases against Luis Antonio Ramirez, 24, of Roma, Raul Rosillo, 59, of Alton, Texas, Dominguez and Morales-Alvarez are pending. They are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.
The remaining five defendants, Jesus Landa-Gomez, Felix Landa-Gomez; Luis Rios-Garza, 23, of Mission, Texas; Ismael Garcia-Gonzalez, 43, a Mexican citizen residing in Roma, Texas, and Juan Garza, a Mexican citizen last known to reside in Houston are fugitives and a warrant remains outstanding for their arrests. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact Drug Enforcement Administration at 956-992-8400.
The Organized Crime Drug Task Force Investigation dubbed Operation Dirty Dozen was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Anibal J. Alaniz is prosecuting the case.