Partially Unsealed Federal Indictment Reveals Drug and Firearms Violations
|Dec. 8, 2011|
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 14-count superseding indictment was partially unsealed this morning revealing narcotics and firearms charges against two Houston residents, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Rigoberto Vargas-Munoz, a Mexican national illegally present in the United States, has been indicted by a Brownsville federal grand jury on 14 counts that include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, conspiracy to import marijuana and cocaine from Mexico into the U.S., possession of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine and being an alien in possession of a firearm. The indictment also charges his nephew, Edgar Munoz-Munoz, a Mexican national illegally present in the United States, with two counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. The indictment remains sealed as those charged but not yet in custody.
The indictment, partially unsealed today, alleges that both individuals were involved in a long-term narcotics conspiracy, led by Vargas-Munoz, in which large quantities of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine were transported in cars from Mexico, through the Rio Grande Valley to Houston. The men then intended to distribute the narcotics to locations further north, according to the indictment. Vargas-Munoz and his organization utilized ports of entry throughout the Southern District of Texas in attempts to smuggle their narcotics. Between March 2009 and November 2011, Vargas-Munoz and his organization have been linked to nine separate narcotics seizures, the indictment indicates. Those seizures have been investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).
Both Vargas-Munoz and Munoz-Munoz were taken into federal custody after the execution of a search warrant by Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) agents at the home of Vargas-Munoz on Nov. 15, 2011. They will remain in custody pending further proceedings. Vargas-Munoz will appear for arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio on Dec. 14, 2011. Munoz-Munoz is expected to be transferred from Houston to Brownsville where he will be arraigned in the near future.
Both men face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment up to a maximum term of life for the methamphetamine conspiracy and possession. Vargas-Munoz also faces a term of imprisonment of five up to a maximum of 40 years for each count pertaining to the marijuana and cocaine conspiracy and up to 10 years for being an alien in possession of a firearm. The maximum fine is $10 million.
The investigation leading to the indictment was conducted by ICE-HSI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States V. LaTawn Warsaw.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.