Law Enforcement Arrests Defendants Charged in Marijuana Trafficking and Money Laundering Conspiracies
DALLAS — Following a law enforcement operation led earlier today by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the North Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, 18 defendants charged in a federal superseding indictment, returned last week and unsealed today, with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana are in custody, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
During the course of executing the arrest and search warrants in this Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, law enforcement seized marijuana, cocaine, vehicles, and several guns. Of the 18 defendants charged, one was already in federal custody on related federal charges. Ten defendants will make their initial appearance in federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney.
Charged in the marijuana trafficking conspiracy are:
- Jose Roberto Reyna-Cardenas, 42, of Dallas
- Andres Hernandez, Jr., aka “Gordo,” 32, of Dallas
- Virgilio Delacruz Espinoza, aka “Chaparro,” 39
- Serviano Contreras, aka “Junior” and “Seven,” 27
- Jose Teodoro Zaragoza, aka “Lolo,” 39, of Irving
- Pedro Menchaca, aka “Lentes,” 38
- Griselda Ruiz Hernandez, 33, of Dallas
- Jose Gonzales, Jr., aka “Jose Gonzalez, Jr., and “Parejita,” 32, of Dallas
- Sonya Cavozos, aka “Sonia Cavazos,” 38, of Dallas
- Claudia Agnes Castillo, 19, of Dallas
- Jerry Cardenas, 30, of Dallas
- Juan Luis Negrete, 37, of Dallas
- Jarvis Lorenzo Holmes, 41, of Cedar Hill, Texas
- Lamont Javon Morgan, 33, of Midlothian, Texas
- Roberto Lopez Delacruz, 39
- Luis Lira Gonzalez, 39
- Paul Santoy, aka “Paul Santey,” 26, of Midlothian, Texas
- Benicio Pena, Jr., aka “NeNe,” 61, of Dallas
In addition, Reyna-Cardenas is charged with one substantive count of possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.
The indictment also charges Andres Hernandez, Jr. and Pedro Menchaca with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Andres Hernandez, Jr., and his wife, Griselda Hernandez, are also charged with one substantive count of money laundering.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted however, the maximum statutory penalties for the offenses charged are 40 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana; 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy to commit money laundering and the substantive count of money laundering; and 40 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
In addition, the indictment includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants, if convicted, to forfeit to the U.S. all proceeds obtained as a result of their offense, and if convicted, Andres and Greiselda Hernandez would forfeit a residence in Dallas County and a parcel of real estate in Navarro County, Texas.
The case is being investigated by the DEA, HIDTA and IRS Criminal Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Phelesa Guy is in charge of the prosecution.
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