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Eight Weslaco Men Enter Guilty Pleas

APR 23 (MCALLEN, Texas) –A total of eight men residing in Weslaco have entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute narcotics, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Tomas Reyes Gonzalez aka “El Gallo,” 37; Eloy Gonzalez, 39; Hector Rodriguez Jr., 37; Hector Rodriguez Sr., 61; Federico Rodriguez, 27; Miguel Placencia III, 28; Jamail Thomas, 27; and William Champion Gonzalez, 22, all of Weslaco, entered their guilty pleas just a short time ago in McAllen federal court. Reyes Gonzalez also pleaded to one count of conspiring to launder money as did a ninth defendant - Francisco Rios, 40, from Atlanta, Ga.

The investigation revealed that from 2007 to 2013, Reyes Gonzalez headed a drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of thousands of kilograms of marijuana and hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. The narcotics were transported from the Rio Grande Valley to Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Reyes Gonzalez used the resulting drug proceeds to purchase properties. He also provided some of proceeds to former Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino and former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Commander Jose Padilla. 

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who accepted the pleas today, has set sentencing for July 17, 2014. At that time, those convicted of the drug charge will face a maximum of life imprisonment along with a potential fine up to $10 million. Reyes Gonzalez will also face a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 (or twice the amount of the proceeds) for the conspiracy to launder money as will Rios for his conviction.    

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and Texas Department of Public Safety, Rangers Division. Assistant United States Attorneys James Sturgis and Anibal Alaniz prosecuted the case.

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