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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Indictment Returned Against Mexico-Based Drug Ring Operating In The Atlanta Area

ATLANTA – Seventeen members of a Mexico-based drug ring were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 28, 2014, on federal charges, including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“These defendants are charged with using the metropolitan Atlanta area as their hub for the importation and distribution of millions of dollars’ worth of illegal deadly drugs,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “As a result of the tremendous cooperation between federal agencies and local law enforcement partners, this drug ring is now out of business.”

“This investigation unmasked a massive smuggling conspiracy involving staggering amounts of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine brought  into Atlanta from the southwest border, and a significant amount of bulk cash destined for Mexico,” said Special Agent in Charge Brock D. Nicholson, head of Homeland Security Investigations in Atlanta. “Thanks to a complex and coordinated effort by more than a dozen federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, we have been able to dismantle this transnational criminal network and bring these perpetrators to justice.”

“The attack on money laundering is an essential front in the war on narcotics,” stated Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “We will continue to unite with our law enforcement partners at the local, county, state and federal levels, and utilize every tool available to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities are vigorously investigated and brought to justice.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: Atenogenes Alvarado-Delgado was the alleged Mexico-based leader of this drug trafficking organization, and allegedly conspired with his brother, Jose Alvarado-Delgado, and associates, Reberiano Arroyo-Santana and Manuel Arroyo-Delgado, Jr., to import large amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin into the Atlanta area from Mexico.  The investigation revealed that this organization used passenger buses, owned by Alejandro Carmona, to transport the drugs from Mexico, across the border into the United States, and directly to the Atlanta area. 

After unloading the narcotics-laden buses in local warehouses, Jose Antonio Pineda-Maldanado, Enrique Arroyo, Blanca Hernandez, Rufino Pineda-Perez, and Miguel Salinas would allegedly distribute the drugs in the Atlanta, Ga., area, as well as in Florida.  Jose Cardenas-Garcia allegedly off-loaded drugs and loaded drug proceeds into elaborate concealed compartments in the buses.  Rubi Torres-Aguilar, Yarely Pineda, and Reynaldo Maldonado-Guipes also allegedly transported drug proceeds on the buses in their suitcases. Alan Arnold Lopez allegedly supervised the border crossings of the buses and also traveled to the Atlanta area aboard at least one drug-filled bus.

Since October 2013, law enforcement has seized approximately 644 pounds of methamphetamine, 37 kilograms of heroin, 27 kilograms of cocaine, and $680,000 in drug proceeds, which include the following seizures:

  • 39 pounds of methamphetamine seized on October 8, 2013, from Miguel Salinas after a traffic stop in Doraville, Ga.;
  • 165 pounds of methamphetamine seized on October 11, 2013, pursuant to a search warrant of an apartment on Cleburne Parkway in Hiram, Ga.;
  • 178 pounds of cocaine and heroin seized on October 11, 2013, pursuant to a search warrant of an apartment on Cumberland Pkwy in Cobb County, Ga.;
  • $386,000 in drug proceeds seized on December 7, 2013, in Cuba, Ala. from suitcases transported on a passenger bus.  The bus had departed Atlanta, Ga., en-route to Mexico;
  • 132 pounds of methamphetamine seized on January 3, 2014, from Jose Antonio Pineda-Maldanado after a traffic stop in Austell, Ga.;
  • Eleven pounds of methamphetamine seized on January 3, 2014, from an apartment on Jameson Pass in Alpharetta, Ga., which was used by the organization as a methamphetamine laboratory.  Law enforcement had discovered the methamphetamine after an explosion at the apartment;
  • 26 kilograms of heroin seized off a passenger bus at the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas on January 20, 2014.  The bus was destined for the Atlanta area from Mexico; and
  • $277,490 in drug proceeds seized on March 19, 2014, from a passenger bus in Douglasville, Ga.  The drug proceeds were concealed in false compartments within the bus frame.

Each of the following defendants has been arrested or located and will have an initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge in Atlanta or in the district in which they were arrested: Atenogenes Alvarado-Delgado, 35, of Powder Springs, Ga.; Jose Alvarado-Delgado, 35, of Austell, Ga.; Reberiano Arroyo-Santana, 36, of Atlanta, Ga.; Jose Antonio Pineda-Maldanado, 22, of Smyrna, Ga.; Yarely Pineda, 22, of Smyrna, Ga.; Alejandro Carmona, 63, of Arlington, Texas; Jose Cardenas-Garcia, 48, of Kennesaw, Ga.; Alan Arnold Lopez, 24, of Mableton, Ga.; Blanca Hernandez, 41, of Alpharetta, Ga.; Ranferi Pineda, 24, of Norcross, Ga; Rufino Pineda-Perez, 48, of Lawrenceville, Ga.; and Miguel Salinas, 22, of Lawrenceville, Ga.

Law enforcement officers continue to search for Manuel Arroyo-Delgado, Jr., 23, of Sandy Springs, Ga.; Enrique Arroyo, 38, of Atlanta, Ga.; Reynaldo Maldonado-Guipes, 56, of Cumming, Ga.; Rubi Torres-Aguilar, 44, of Austell, Ga.; and one additional male known only as “Mocha.”

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

The investigation and prosecution of this case is a coordinated effort through the David G. Wilhelm OCDETF Strike Force, led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations.   Valuable assistance was also provided by the Cobb County Police Department, Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, Marietta Police Department, Powder Springs Police Department, Henry County Police Department, Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, DeKalb County Police Department, Newnan Police Department, Conyers Police Department, Gwinnett County Judicial Task Force, United States Customs and Border Protection, and the Georgia State Patrol.

Assistant United States Attorney Michael Herskowitz is prosecuting the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site: www.justthinktwice.com.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

Updated April 8, 2015