Two Central Florida Men Sentenced For Participating In Marijuana Distribution Ring Tied To The Gulf Cartel
Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Ivan Alvarado (31, Kissimmee) and Jose Luis Franco-Gonzalez (35, Apopka) were sentenced for their roles in a marijuana distribution ring tied to the Gulf Cartel in Mexico. Alvarado was sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and for knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Franco-Gonzalez was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Alvarado and Franco-Gonzalez previously pled guilty to the charges.
According to court documents, in 2011 and 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated members of the Gulf Cartel and other conspirators based in McAllen, Texas, and Central Florida. The group transported thousands of pounds of marijuana to Central Florida. During the course of this investigation, more than three tons of marijuana, $2 million, as well as handguns, semi-automatic rifles, and bullet proof vests were seized by law enforcement.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher LaForgia and Daniel Irick.