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April 11, 2012

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Six Men Handed Federal Sentences for Drug Trafficking

McALLEN, Texas – Six people associated with the Escobedo drug trafficking organization have landed in federal prison for their respective roles in the distribution of marijuana, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Jerry Robinette, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement  – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI).

Juan Escobedo-Anguiano, 44, and Rolando Ramirez-Garcia, 19, both Mexican nationals; Jose Antonio Alvarez, 47, of Roma, Texas, Ricardo Ramirez-Ovalle, 48, of Edinburg, Texas, and Alonzo Garcia-Pena, of Alton, Texas; and Jose Ricardo Lopez-Ramos, 31, a legal permanent resident, were all charged with substantive counts of drug trafficking and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances involving more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Just a short time ago, Chief United States District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa sentenced the last defendant, Garcia-Pena, to 144 months in federal prison, upwardly departing from the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for his conviction of possessing with intent to distribute marijuana to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release.

Escobedo-Anguiano and Alvarez pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and were sentenced on Monday, April 9, 2012,  to 180 months and 84 months imprisonment, respectively. Ramirez-Ovalle, Lopez-Ramos and Ramirez-Garcia each entered a plea of guilty to a substantive count of drug trafficking. They received respective sentences 87, 39 and 24 months in prison, also this past Monday. 

“HSI vigilantly and aggressively investigates drug smuggling organizations and the violence they bring to our communities,” said Robinette. “These prison sentences are a testament to that effort. We are committed to making our communities safer and will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to achieve that goal.”

The investigation began in June 2010. From that date until July 13, 2010, Escobedo-Anguiano negotiated with an undercover agent in obtaining a stash house for which Escobedo-Anguiano eventually delivered nearly $3,000. He also coordinated the delivery of approximately 2,000 kilograms of marijuana to the undercover agent over the course of the conspiracy. Alvarez was responsible for the delivery of several loads of marijuana to the undercover agent, while Lopez-Ramos, Ramirez-Ovalle, Garcia-Pena and Ramirez-Garcia each participated in the further transportation of marijuana.

All six men have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by ICE-HSI. Assistant United States Attorney Juan Villescas prosecuted the case.