Investigation Leads to Arrest of 18 Members of Drug Criminal Enterprise
JULY 20--(LAREDO, TX) United States Attorney Michael Shelby and Special Agent in Charge James D. Craig of the Houston Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the arrest and indictment of 18 persons charged in a twelve-count indictment for their role in a drug and money laundering criminal enterprise. The indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury in Laredo, Texas, on July 7, 2004, has been unsealed following the arrest of 18 defendants, including SIMON LOPEZ, 34, of the 900 block of Graceland in Laredo, Texas, an alleged head of the organization.
In addition to the criminal charges, the indictment seeks to forfeit all property, real and personal, involved in the offenses and all property traceable to such property to include but not limited to approximately $15 million dollars in United States Currency.
The indictment charges the alleged members of this drug and money laundering
organization with various federal violations, including engaging in a
continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute large kilograms quantities of marijuana and cocaine, conspiracy
to launder drug proceeds and numerous other controlled substances violations.
The alleged illegal conduct occurred during an eight- year period beginning
The seventeen other co-conspirators are alleged to have assisted, aided
or abetted the organization in the receipt, supply and distribution of
marijuana and cocaine from Texas to various locations within the states
of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and other locations and in the
collection of proceeds from the distribution of said controlled substances.
The indictment further indicates that the organization used drug proceeds to pay for drug debts, airline tickets, leases on vehicles, rent on apartments, homes and warehouses, hotels, commodities, cellular telephones and to wire money via Western Union transfers to promote the carrying on of the drug trafficking business.
As of July 19, 2004, the following defendants have been arrested:
NOE LOPEZ, JR., 21, of the 400 block of Longshadow, Laredo, TX;
FRANCISCO ANTONIO CANSINO, a/k/a TONY", age unknown, of the 800 block of Sandy Lane, Laredo, TX;
SERGIO BARRAGAN,27, of the 2900 block of Rosario, Laredo, TX;
GERARDO GARZA, a/k/a "JERRY", 30, of the 700 block of Antelope Lane, Laredo, TX;
JESUS DEL ANGEL SALDIVAR a/k/a "CHUY", age unknown; of the 500 block of Garfield, Laredo, TX;
JOSE ANGEL SOLIS, age unknown; of the 800 block of Cupid Lane, Laredo,
JUAN IBARRA, 36, of the 800 block of Dalia Lane, Laredo, TX;
ELEUTERIO LIENDO, 39, of the 1400 block of Los Ebanos, Laredo, TX;
RICARDO VILLARREAL, 27, of the 3100 block of Clark, Laredo, TX;
JUAN ANTONIO TREVINO, 43, of the 400 block of Croyden, Laredo, TX;
RICARDO CRUZ, 47, of Grove Street in Laredo, TX;
JUAN MONTALVO FLORES, 31, of the 1400 block of Belden, Laredo, TX;
ARTURO VIDALES, 26, of Nuevo Laredo, Tamauplipas, MX;
JORGE VIDALES-AGUILAR, 24, of Nuevo Laredo, Tamauplipas, MX;
DAVID VASQUEZ, age unknown, Atlanta, Georgia; and
ADRIANA LAURA CORTEZ, 21, 800 block of Eagle Creek, Lawrenceville,
David Vasquez and Adrana Laura Cortez, who were arrested in the Atlanta,
Georgia, area have been ordered released on bond.
An indictment is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.