FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2013
PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
16 Arrested in Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation
LAREDO, Texas – Multiple indictments have been partially unsealed following the arrest and appearances of several area residents for numerous drug and money laundering charges, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The enforcement actions took place in the Laredo, Houston and Dallas areas on Friday, July 19, 2013.
The seven indictments were returned earlier this year and partially unsealed today upon their appearances in federal court. The alleged members of this drug and money laundering organization are charged with various federal violations, including engaging in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute multi-kilograms quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines as well as conspiracy to launder drug proceeds. The alleged illegal conduct occurred from approximately 2009 through 2011.
Those arrested include:
Juan Antonio Elizondo, 24, of Laredo
Ahmed Alejandro Plascencia, 33, of Laredo
Ernesto Jimenez, 26, of Laredo
Francisco Garza, 55, of Laredo
Christian Abundez, 23, of Laredo
Blanca Abundez, 28, of Laredo
Abraham Bruno Ortiz, 49, of Laredo
Adrian Torres, 22, of Laredo
Rene Sanchez, 46, of Laredo
Olegario Valdez, 42, of Rio Bravo
Marco Antonio Marchan, 49, of Dallas
Juan Artemio Trevino, 41, of Houston
Ilmar Sierra, 35, of Dallas
Gabriel Munoz Solis, 40, of Dallas
All made their initial appearances this morning and have been ordered into custody pending a detention hearing which has been scheduled for July 25, 2013.
Two others - Rolando Ariel Reyes-Apac, 33, and Heriberto Soto, 44, are also charged but are currently in custody on unrelated charges. They are expected to make their initial appearance on the charges in the near future.
The indictments allege the drug trafficking organization operated out of the Laredo area. They allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to distribute bulk quantities of marijuana, heroin, methamphetamines and cocaine from the Laredo area to distribution venues such as Dallas and Houston. In conjunction with the drug conspiracy, according to the indictments, the organization was involved in a money laundering conspiracy wherein large sums of money were transported from points of drug distributions to Laredo and Mexico. The indictments remain sealed as to those charged but not as yet in custody.
In late 2012 and early 2013, seven others were arrested in relation to this investigation. Nancy Gutierrez, 28, Pedro Menchaca, 39, Ricardo Cruz, 22, Jimmy Eusebio Trujillo, 50, Artemio Lemos, 47, Rosendo Rodriguez, 52 and Gilberto Soto-Diaz, 38, all of Laredo, have since pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.
The indictments are the culmination of a long term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed “Operation Ultimate D” spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol, U.S. Marshals Service, Dallas Police Department Narcotics Unit, Webb County District Attorney's Office Drug Prosecution Unit, Laredo Police Department Narcotics Unit and Webb County Sheriff's Office Crime Stoppers Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Mary Lou Castillo is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.