Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2012

Harrison County Individuals Arrested on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

         MARSHALL, Texas - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that 10 individuals are in custody following a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking in the Eastern District of Texas.

                On Oct. 10, 2012, a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies began executing federal arrest warrants for defendants indicted following a three year investigation into the distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine in the Marshall, Texas area.

Three separate indictments were returned by a federal grand jury on Oct. 3, 2012, charging 12 individuals with federal drug and firearms violations.  Of those, nine defendants were arrested today and another was already in state custody.  The following defendants, all residing in Marshall, are scheduled to appear today or tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy Payne: 

                Apolinar Carbajal Abelardo, aka, La Cartera, 40;
Santiago Carbajal Abelardo, aka, Chiquies, 25;
Jehovani Abelardo, 20;
Santos Acuna, 23;
Rigoberto Aguirre-Valle, aka, Rigo, 35;
Karin Cardenas, aka, Quequi, 20;
Joeli Higuera Fernandez, 28;
Melicio Nunez-Duque, 44;
Julia Flores Saucedo, aka, Julia Bernal, 32; and
Oscar Diaz-Mendoza, 34.

                During today’s arrests, law enforcement officers also seized 14 firearms, a pound and a half of methamphetamine, two ounces of powder cocaine, $8,600 in cash, and four vehicles.

                According to the first indictment, beginning in 2009, Apolinar Abelardo, Santiago Abelardo, Jehovani Abelardo, and Santos Acuna, conspired with others to import methamphetamine and cocaine into Northeast Texas for distribution in the Marshall area.  The defendants are all charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, two counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine, four counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

                According to the second indictment,       beginning in 2010, Rigoberto Aguirre-Valle, Karin Cardenas, and Joeli Fernandez conspired to deliver methamphetamine from Mexico to Northeast Texas for distribution in the Marshall area.  The defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and 8 counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine.

                According to the third indictment, beginning in 2011, Melicio Nunez-Duque, Julia Saucedo, and Oscar Diaz-Mendoza conspired to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine in Marshall and Karnack, Texas.  They are all charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and four counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine. 

                If convicted of the drug conspiracy charges, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison.  If convicted of the drug possession charges, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.  If convicted on the weapons violations, those defendants face at least 5 years and up to 40 years in federal prison.  The indictments also seek forfeiture of any property used to commit or facilitate the crimes or derived from proceeds of the conspiracy.

These indictments are the result of a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) East Texas Drug Task Force investigation.  The cases are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Marshall Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, the Harrison County District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations – Deportation and Removal Operations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Longview Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst. 

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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