Several Laredoans Charged in Multi-Million Dollar Meth Conspiracy
|April 20, 2012|
LAREDO, Texas – A nine-count federal indictment has been partially unsealed following the arrest of eight Texas residents on charges of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin with the intent to distribute, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Javier F. Peña, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Today, Laredo residents Silvia Esther Flores, 55, Flavio Lozano-Torres, 40, Shirley Flores, 30, Gabriel Delafuente, 30, Lilia Esther Garza, 51, Roel Lopez-Cisneros, 36, Simon Alvarez-Rebolledo, 34, and Juan Gabriel Gonzalez, 32, were taken into custody. The indictment, returned March 13, 2012, and partially unsealed today alleges the drug trafficking organization transported more than 100 kilograms of methamphetamine in 2011, much of which was intercepted by authorities en route to Dallas, Texas. The indictment remains sealed as to those charged but not as yet in custody.
“The people of Laredo can rest a little easier today knowing that DEA is fulfilling its responsibility to protect its citizens from drug traffickers,” said Peña. “We will not tolerate any drug trafficking organizations that bring illegal drugs into the United States, and if they try to do so, they will face serious repercussions from the U.S. law enforcement community.”
The indictment alleges Silvia Flores and Lozano-Torres coordinated the transportation of drugs from Mexico to Dallas and the surrounding areas. Lozano-Torres has allegedly been connected to a 35.77 kilogram seizure of cocaine outside of Dallas on April 8, 2011. Lopez-Cisneros, Alvarez and Gonzalez were among those who orchestrated, performed and/or collaborated in the transportation of large quantities of methamphetamine on various dates, according to documents filed of record in the case.
The indictment further indicates Silvia Flores coordinated the transportation of multiple bulk loads of drugs, one of which was found in the possession of Shirley Flores and Gabriel Delafuente at the IH-35 mile marker 29 checkpoint on May 3, 2011. On that date, Shirley Flores was allegedly driving a vehicle containing a suitcase with 48.7 kilograms of methamphetamine and 1.14 kilograms of heroin. Garza allegedly imported those drugs from Mexico at the direction of Silvia Flores.
If convicted of the conspiracy, all defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine.
Silvia Flores is also accused of smuggling U.S. currency into Mexico on two occasions without properly reporting it. The amount of the bulk cash smuggling attempts is alleged to be $110,000 and $83,000. If convicted of those two charges, she faces an additional five years in prison on each count.
The United States is also seeking a money judgment in the amount of $20,800,000 based on the amount of drugs transported by the organization during the span of the conspiracy.
The case is the result of a two-year investigation led by the DEA. Assistant United States Attorney James Hepburn is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.