Gulf Cartel Member Sentenced to 15+ Years for Cocaine Trafficking
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
A drug trafficking cartel member was sentenced Tuesday to more than 15 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Ruben Salazar Vasquez, 51, pleaded guilty in August 2022 to possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He was sentenced Tuesday to 188 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Ada Brown, who ordered him to forfeit $28,481 along with four firearms.
At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors said, based on information provided by the DEA, Mr. Vasquez was a member of the Gulf Cartel and distributed cocaine to Tennessee and Illinois as well as Texas.
In plea papers, Mr. Vasquez admitted that on April 22, 2021, he delivered drugs to the residence of a known drug dealer in Grand Prairie and then fled the scene.
Shortly thereafter, law enforcement found 3,862 grams of cocaine in a vehicle that departed the home and 1,937 grams of cocaine stashed inside a grill on the premises.
The dealer, Jorge Adalberto Cavazos, and his associate, Darwin Lamont Conwright, were also charged. Both pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Mr. Cavazos was sentenced to 108 months in prison and Mr. Conwright is slated to be sentenced later this month.
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Division along with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Grand Prairie Police Department, the Garland Police Department, IRS – Criminal Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney George Leal is prosecuting the case.
The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.
Updated January 18, 2023