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Seventh Person Convicted in Conspiracy to Transport Cocaine

JAN 18 (LAREDO, Tex.) – Juan Ramon Ibarra Jr., 30, of Laredo, has been convicted for his role in a conspiracy to transport five kilograms or more of cocaine and international money laundering, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Ibarra was named in a sealed indictment returned by a grand jury on Aug. 28, 2012, which alleged a drug trafficking organization had transported more than five kilograms of cocaine since 2008. The organization transported cocaine from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to Houston and Miami, Fla., on a regular basis. With the guilty plea today, all seven individuals named in the indictment have now been convicted.

In his plea, Ibarra admitted he participated in the transportation of cocaine to Miami since 2004. He and his father, Juan Ramon Ibarra Sr. coordinated with Rene Cardenas and other co-conspirators to transport the drugs in aftermarket compartments installed in the rear wheel axles of tractor-trailers. Once the cocaine was delivered to Miami, the compartment was loaded with large amounts of United States currency destined for Nuevo Laredo. One such load was intercepted in March 2010 when agents recovered approximately $422,000 in the compartment with a drug ledger.

In 2010, Ibarra Sr. pleaded guilty to his role in the drug conspiracy and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez to 130 months in federal prison. Following Ibarra Sr.’s arrest, Ibarra Jr. assumed the role of his father and continued the transportation of cocaine for the drug trafficking organization.

Ibarra Jr. faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison and a $10 million fine for the drug conspiracy as well as a maximum of 20 years and a substantial fine for the conspiracy to commit international money laundering. The United States is also seeking a money judgment in the amount of $2,408,204. U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, who accepted the plea today, has set sentencing for April 30, 2013.

The case is the result of a two-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed Silver Fox Hunt led by the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys James Hepburn and Elizabeth Rabe are handling the case.

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