Six Valley Men Convicted of Conspiracy to Traffic Marijuana
|Sept. 6, 2012|
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Six men have pleaded guilty in federal court as a result of the efforts of a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Jesus Marroquin, 49, of Rio Grande City, Texas; Alejandro Garza, 42, of Mission, Texas; Adrian De la Garza, 41, of Sullivan City, Texas; and Rene Salazar, 42, Jose Figueroa, 35, and Edwardo Munoz, 35, all of Falfurrias, Texas, each entered their guilty pleas before U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos just a short time ago.
The defendants were arrested in June 2012 on charges relating to their participation in a large-scale South Texas drug-trafficking organization. The criminal organization employing the defendants specializes in avoiding the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint by using ranches adjacent to the checkpoint. Garza and Marroquin have been identified as leaders in this criminal organization.
Garza, Marroquin, Salazar and De la Garza pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana. Based upon the amount of the marijuana involved, the defendants face no less than 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment. Figueroa and Munoz were also convicted of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment.
In addition, Garza agreed to criminally forfeit several firearms, while Marroquin has agreed to forfeit 145 pieces of expensive jewelry, worth approximately $25,000.
Sentencing has been set for Dec. 4, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. With the exception of De la Garza and Salazar, who are on bond, all have been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
The OCDETF investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted in Corpus Christi lead by Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Texas Department of Public Safety, Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection and the United States Marshals Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julie K. Hampton.