Several Area Men Arrested in Cocaine and Money Laundering Conspiracy
|May 9, 2012|
McALLEN, Texas – A total of seven men have been taken into custody on charges related to conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The sealed 11-count indictment, returned April 24, 2012, was unsealed following the arrests of Jose Felix Morales, 33, Guadalupe Gonzalez, 54, and Hugo Lopez, 34, all of Mission, Texas; Ricardo Roman-Gomez, 47, of McAllen, Texas; Jose Torres-Araguz, 32, of Pharr, Texas; and Omar Montoya, 46, and Federico Carrillo-Vigil, 41, both of Hidalgo, Texas.
Montoya and Torres-Araguz aka W were arrested on Monday and made their initial appearances yesterday, at which time they were ordered held without bond pending further criminal proceedings. Eloy Vasquez-Diego aka Chuy, 32, of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, was previously arrested April 2, 2012, on a criminal complaint. He will be arraigned on May 10, 2012. Those arrested today are expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Dorina Ramos later today or tomorrow. The indictment remains sealed to those charged but not as yet in custody.
All are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and face imprisonment for a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life and a fine of $10 million. Gonzalez aka Tio, and Morales aka Shorty, Carrillo-Vigil aka Keico and Roman-Gomez aka Rica are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and at least one substantive count of money laundering. A conviction for money laundering or conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum 20-year-term of imprisonment as well as a maximum $500,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater. Gonzalez, Morales, Vasquez-Diego and Torres-Araguz are all charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and face five to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The remaining five counts of the indictment allege possession with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine which carries as possible punishment at least 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a maximum $10 million fine on each count. Gonzalez and Morales are named in all five of those charges, while Vasquez-Diego, Montoya and Carrillo-Vigil face one count each.
A notice of forfeiture for several properties has also been filed as part of the indictment as possible direct or indirect proceeds obtained as a result of alleged unlawful activities.
The investigation was conducted by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Texas Department of Public Safety and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Profit.
Indictments and criminal complaints are formal accusations of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.