Joint Federal and State Investigations into Drug Trafficking Results in Arrests of 18 People
(BROWNSVILLE, TX) United States Attorney Michael Shelby announced today the arrest of eighteen individuals charged with various drug distribution and money laundering crimes alleged in three separate indictments returned in January 2005. Two of the indictments were returned by a Brownsville grand jury and the third by a grand jury in Corpus Christi, Texas. The cases will be prosecuted in the division where they have been filed. The arrests of persons charged began on Friday, February 4, 2005. Defendants have been making their initial appearances in federal court throughout the week.
The arrests were the result of two separate Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations conducted jointly by special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, officers of the Brownsville, Harlingen, San Benito, and Port Isabel Police Departments, the Cameron County Sheriff's Office and the Cameron County District Attorney's Office. The OCDETF investigations code-named Operation Santa Muerte and Operation Alias investigated illegal drug distribution both within the Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas, areas and from Texas to other parts of the United States.
Commenting on the results of the investigative effort, United States Attorney Mike Shelby said, “The investigative effort evidenced by the return of these three indictments demonstrates our continuing commitment to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking and money laundering organizations operating in the United States. Our efforts will continue.”
United States v. Marcos Estrada, et al. (Corpus Christi Division)
Marcos Estrada and four other persons were indicted by a Corpus Christi grand jury on January 12, 2005. The seven count indictment charges the defendants with various federal violations, including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute multi-kilograms quantities of cocaine, conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and numerous other controlled substances violations. The alleged illegal conduct began in August, 2002 according to the indictment, continuing through January, 2005.
Marcos Estrada, 24, of Brownsville, Daniel Sanchez, 33, of Bonita Springs, Floriday, and Fernandez Holland, 41, Ronald Rodriguez, 30, and Ruben Ulloa, 23, all of Brownsville, are charged in the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine carrying a ten years to life imprisonment punishment range.
Marcos Estrada is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine in August 2004 carrying a maximum of twenty years imprisonment, upon conviction .
In addition to the drug conspiracy charge, Daniel Sanchez and Fernandez Holland are accused.