Calhoun County, Florida Men Convicted in Drug Conspiracy
APR 16 (Tallahassee, FL) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Miami Field Division, and Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced that in jury verdicts on Friday in the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, Jose Misael Garfias-Garcia, 33, and Miguel Angel Moreno-Ortega, 25, both of Altha, Florida, were convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
Evidence at trial showed that the men participated in the delivery of 177 pounds of marijuana that were seized by DEA in Montgomery, Alabama on May 29, 2011. Officers searched the defendants’ Altha, Florida residence on the same day, recovering documents and a cellular telephone that connected Garfias-Garcia to 1,285 kilograms of marijuana and 39 kilograms of cocaine that had been seized in Laredo, Texas in December 2010. During the search of defendants’ residence, agents also seized $54,832 in cash, a money counting machine, two loaded handguns, and false identification documents.
At trial, the government introduced recordings of conversations intercepted during a series of court-authorized wiretaps. The recordings established that both defendants had been engaged in cocaine and marijuana trafficking over a 17-month period. The government’s case also included surveillance videos and the testimony of cooperating co-conspirators.
Garfias-Garcia, whom the jury found responsible for conspiring to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine and 100 or more kilograms of marijuana, faces a minimum ten years’ up to life imprisonment. Moreno-Ortega, who was found responsible for 100 or more kilograms of marijuana and an undetermined amount of cocaine, faces a minimum of five, up to forty years’ imprisonment. Both men are Mexican nationals and are subject to deportation proceedings.
Garfias-Garcia and Moreno-Ortega are two of twelve defendants indicted in the case. Ten of their co-defendants have pled guilty to drug conspiracy charges. The most recent of these was Melchor Munoz, 35, of Marianna, who pled guilty on April 9, 2012, the day he was set to begin trial with Garfias-Garcia and Moreno-Ortega.
Ms. Marsh credited the success of this investigation to the joint efforts of the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Agriculture, the Florida National Guard, the Sheriff’s Offices for Calhoun, Jackson, Liberty, and Leon Counties, and the Tallahassee Police Department.