News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2008
For Information Contact,
Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Public Information Officer
(602) 664-5725

Nogales Family Sentenced for Trafficking in Cocaine and Marijuana
Over 400 pounds of cocaine and over 11,100 pounds of marijuana seized

NOV 20 -- TUCSON – Elizabeth W. Kempshall, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division joined Diane J. Humetewa, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Arizona, to announce the sentencing of Sergio Antonio Haro, 29, his father, Julio Mario Haro-Verdugo, 52, and his mother, Lorenia Haro, 51. All have been sentenced for their convictions in April 2008 for operating a large drug trafficking ring out of Nogales, Arizona. 

The Haro family, including the sister of Sergio Haro, Carolina Haro, 24, were indicted in a twenty-one count indictment in January of 2005, charging them, along with fifteen other defendants, with transporting 11,116.75 pounds of marijuana and 413.6 pounds of cocaine into the United States from Mexico and furnishing it to buyers throughout the central and southern United States. 

In a trial in Federal District Court in Tucson, which began on March 18, 2008, and concluded on April 14, 2008, Sergio Antonio Haro was convicted of operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, five counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana, and seven counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. The Continuing Criminal Enterprise charge carries a minimum mandatory term of confinement of 20 years and a maximum term of life.   On October 6, 2008, Judge David C. Bury sentenced Sergio Antonio Haro to life imprisonment, forfeiture of $2,432.00 in cash, numerous vehicles, and various pieces of gold and diamond jewelry.

Julio Mario Haro-Verdugo, the father of Sergio Haro, and a co-defendant, was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, five counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, and three counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.  

On September 22, 2008, Julio Mario Haro-Verdugo was sentenced to 292 months of imprisonment, to be served concurrently with a previous conviction for Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and for which he was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment. Judge Bury also ordered forfeiture of $7,496.73 in lieu of property located at 1481 E. Patagonia Highway, Nogales, Arizona, forfeiture of $23,767.11 in lieu of property located at 1818 Sierra Del Sol, Nogales, Arizona, cash in the amount of $71, 858.76, numerous vehicles, and various pieces of gold and diamond jewelry.  Both men were acquitted of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine in Count 7 of the Indictment. 

Lorenia Haro, the mother of Sergio Antonio Haro and the wife of Julio Mario Haro-Verdugo, was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, three counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, and Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana. On November 17, 2008, Lorenia Haro was sentenced by Judge Bury to 144 months of imprisonment and ordered to forfeit $21,998.55 in cash, numerous vehicles and various pieces of diamond jewelry.

The Haro family’s supplier of marijuana, Leonardo Burgos-Valencia, 53, was tried with the Haros and convicted of operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Marijuana, and eight counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana.  He was acquitted of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana in Count 20 of the indictment.  On October 6, 2008, Judge Bury sentenced Leonardo Burgos-Valencia to 288 months of imprisonment.

The remaining defendants pleaded guilty.  Carolina Haro, the daughter of Lorenia Haro and Julio Mario Haro-Verdugo, pleaded guilty to a charge of bulk cash smuggling and was sentenced on August 31, 2007, to time served, which was 646 days.  Furthermore, as a provision of the plea agreement, Carolina forfeited property located at 423 Camino Brizza Bonnell, Rio Rico, Arizona, which the government sold and netted $239,000.

The investigation began with the arrest of Julio Mario Haro-Verdugo on January 13, 2003, in possession of 2,174 pounds of marijuana, and to which he ultimately pleaded guilty.  Special Agents of the DEA Nogales Resident Office, focused on the Haro family, and together with the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) comprised of federal and state law enforcement agencies, conducted a lengthy wiretap investigation that culminated with the arrests of the principal conspirators in January of 2004.

Sergio Haro organized and supervised a far-flung network of drivers who would pick up large loads of marijuana smuggled into the United States by Leonardo Burgos-Valencia, and Haro would deliver the loads to stash houses near Rio Rico and Tucson, Arizona.  The loads would be picked up by several buyers located in central and southern states.

Sergio Haro also smuggled large loads of cocaine into the United States from Mexico and would deliver them to buyers on the East Coast. 

During the course of the investigation, over 413.6 pounds of cocaine were seized and over 11,116.75 pounds of marijuana were seized by federal and local law enforcement agencies.

The prosecution was handled by David A. Kern, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

# # #