FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
JANUARY 29, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TEXAS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO COCAINE CONSPIRACY IN ONE OF THE LARGEST DRUG INVESTIGATIONS BY U.S. POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE IN MARYLAND
Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars and Large Quantities of Cocaine Mailed
to Post Office Boxes Around the Country
GREENBELT, Maryland - Antonio Flores, age 52, of Laredo, Texas, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein stated, “We are working with our state and federal partners to prosecute gangs that bring illegal drugs and violence to Maryland and send the gang members to prison."
According to the plea agreement presented to the court, from 2004 to 2005 Flores conspired with Jose Francisco Arriaga-Moreno, age 53, Federico Hawkins, age 41, and Roque Antonio Martinez, age 25, all of Laredo, Texas, and Victoriano Sanchez-Pineda, age 22, of Yadkinville, North Carolina, to distribute between 15 and 50 kilograms of cocaine by causing others to mail packages filled with cocaine from Texas to Maryland. The defendants leased post office boxes in Glen Burnie, College Park, Elkridge, Hanover and Crofton, Maryland; Texas; North Carolina and South Carolina. The defendants sent packages, each package typically containing eight kilograms of cocaine, from Texas to the post office boxes. The post office boxes also were used to facilitate the transfer of cash, including approximately $170,000 seized at a post office box in Laredo, Texas in June 2005. The defendants also leased storage units in Jessup, Maryland and North Carolina to store cocaine, money and materials used for the packaging of cocaine. For example, 17 kilograms of cocaine and approximately $65,000 were recovered in June 2005 from a storage unit used by Moreno in Laredo, Texas. Eight kilograms of cocaine were seized from each of two storage units leased in Jessup and Glen Burnie; and from each of two post office boxes located in Glen Burnie and College Park.
Arriaga-Morena, Hawkins, Martinez and Sanchez-Pineda previously pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy. Each of the defendants faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, followed by a mandatory term of supervised release of five years, and a fine of up to $4,000,000. The defendants remain detained.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the investigative work performed by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Maryland State Police and Baltimore-Washington HIDTA task force, as well as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Laredo, Texas. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney David I. Salem, who is prosecuting the case.