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May 24, 2011

SECOND IN COMMAND OF THE COMPEAN DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION SENTENCED TO PRISON

(LAREDO, Texas) - Javier Hugo Perez, 56, of Laredo, identified as the second in command of the Compean Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) which operated out of the Laredo area, has been sentenced to prison for his role as a co-conspirator and leader/organizer of the Compean drug and money laundering organization.

To date, 23 defendants charged as a result of Operation Reload, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation have been convicted for their roles in advancing the goals of the Compean DTO, including Perez and Omar Compean - heads of the organization – who pleaded guilty to various counts of drug trafficking and money laundering. A 24th defendant, Justino Loredo Vera, was tried and convicted by a jury in January 2011.

Perez marks the ninth defendant to be sentenced. U.S. District Court Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Perez this morning to 230 months in federal prison without parole to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release and imposed a fine of $250,000. In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted that Perez had been engaged in a long standing pattern of continuing criminal activity. Judge Alvarez also signed a final order of forfeiture divesting Perez of his ranch and $16 million.
                       
Perez, who pleaded guilty in July 2010, was part of the Compean drug and money laundering conspiracy beginning as early as 2005 through the date of his arrest in December 2009. Perez’s co-defendant, Compean, was the head of a drug transportation cell based out of Laredo, Texas, that transported marijuana loads for the Centeno DTO, the alleged Leandro Salas Galaviz aka Daniel Obregon DTO and others. Perez was Compean’s right hand man responsible for maintaining the organization’s drug ledgers and coordinating the loading and transportation of marijuana loads from Laredo to the Dallas area. Through the course of the OCDETF investigation, agents identified other co-conspirators and seized drug loads destined for the Dallas area including loads being transported for Leandro Salas Galaviz aka Daniel Obregon. 

At his re-arraignment hearing, Perez admitted that during the course of the conspiracy, he and other conspirators possessed with intent to distribute a in excess of 10,000 kilograms of marijuana supported by drug ledgers found at Perez’s residence on Diego Lane in Laredo in January 2009. Agents also recovered drug ledgers of the Compean DTO which detailed the distribution of marijuana loads in excess of 15,000 kilograms and payments for the loads in excess of $2.5 million. Perez noted the proceeds generated by the DTO in ledgers. Perez used his share of the drug proceeds to acquire vehicles, ranch property and to fund four bank accounts by conducting numerous financial transactions to include depositing cash proceeds, withdrawing cash proceeds and writing checks on the accounts to make car payments and purchase personal items and services with the intent to conceal and disguise the source, location and true ownership of the drug proceeds.

Perez has been in federal custody since his arrest Jan. 21, 2010, and will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.
           
OCDETF Operation Reload was an investigation spearheaded by the Laredo offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) which culminated in several indictments being returned in December 2009 and unsealed in January  2010. Following the unsealing of the indictments law enforcement authorities arrested a total of 29 defendants charged for their roles in the drug trafficking and money laundering organizations based out of Laredo.        

The indictments charged that DTOs operating out of the Laredo area were engaged in a conspiracy to distribute bulk quantities of marijuana and cocaine from the Laredo area to distribution venues such as Dallas, Houston and Florida. The indictments also alleged that in conjunction with a drug conspiracy, the organizations were involved in a money laundering conspiracy wherein large sums of money were transported from points of drug distributions to Laredo and Mexico. As alleged in the indictments, members of the drug conspiracy laundered drug proceeds by conducting financial transactions via Western Union wire transfers and by utilizing numerous bank accounts that were used to make cash deposits and withdrawals of drug proceeds. It is also alleged that the co-conspirators also conducted numerous financial transactions through the use of bank accounts and in relation to the purchase and sale of vehicles and real property which were designed in whole or in part to conceal and disguise the nature, ownership, control and source of the drug proceeds.   

In addition to the criminal charges, the indictments sought to forfeit all property, real and personal, involved in the offenses and all property traceable to such property to include but not limited to several ranches, a residence, numerous vehicles and millions of dollars in United States Currency.
             
The eight other defendants previously sentenced by Judge Alvarez are Luis Gerardo Casarez, 38, of Laredo, to a term of 73 months; Bernardo Pineda Lopez, 50, of Laredo, to a term of 70 months; Jose De Jesus Romero, 32, of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to a term of 60 months; Noel Omar Barrera, 27, of Laredo, to a term of 75 months; Juan Manuel Lara, 38, of Laredo, to a term of 46 months; Hector Guadalupe Rojas, 37, of Dallas to a term of 77 months; Jesus Enrique Salazar, 47, of Laredo, to a term of 120 months; and Blanca Compean, 39, of Laredo, to a term of three years probation.

Fifteen others are awaiting sentencing including Compean, 46; Oscar Rodriguez Avila, 46, Miguel Angel Davalos, 25, Sergio Alberto Ortegon, 32, Sergio Arturo Solis, 42, Eduardo Guadalupe Martinez, 32, Gloria Guevara, 30, George Albert Dominguez, 45, Alejandro Alcaraz, 26, all of Laredo; Felipe Ruiz, 28, a Mexican National residing in Rio Bravo, Texas; Albert Salinas, 50, of San Antonio, Texas; Mario Alberto Reyes-Hernandez, 23, Mario Alberto Reyes Moya, 50, Manuel Moreno Gonzalez, 40, all of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; and Justino Loredo Vera, 49, of El Cenizo, Texas.

Five others are awaiting trial in early July 2011 before U.S. District Court Judge Micaela Alvarez and are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty through due process of law. 

Assistant United States Attorney Mary Lou Castillo is prosecuting the case.

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