Local Santa Rosa Lima Cartel Cell Head Sentenced for Drug Crimes, Money Laundering
A local Dallas cell head who worked with the Santa Rosa Lima Drug Cartel and other Mexico-based drug trafficking organizations was sentenced Wednesday to more than 16 years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Carlos Espinoza Juarez, an 33-year-old Mexican national, pleaded guilty in July 2020 to money laundering and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade.
According to plea papers, Mr. Juarez admitted he conspired to traffic drugs.
On Feb. 8, 2015, he admitted, he directed codefendant Heriberto Talamantes-Ceballos to deliver approximately one ounce of heroin to a buyer in exchange for $880.00; about a month later, on March 12, he directed codefendant Edwin Contreras-Diaz to deliver approximately three ounces of heroin to a buyer in exchange for $2640.00. Both men did so. The defendant also admitted to sending approximately three kilograms of heroin to Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Mr. Juarez further admitted to orchestrating a series of other drug deliveries, spanning from Texas to South Carolina, over the course of at least four years.
He also admitted to using fake names to wire money to recipients in Guanajuato, Mexico, in an effort to launder the proceeds of his illegal drug dealing.
As part of his plea deal, Mr. Juarez agreed to forfeit more than $35,000, six firearms, and two vehicles, including a Chevy Tahoe and a GMC Sierra. A foreign citizen in the U.S. illegally, he will face deportation proceedings after serving his sentence.
Seven additional defendants have been convicted in this case:
- Edwin Contreras-Diaz, aka “Flaco” – pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin
- Heriberto Talamantes-Ceballos – pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin
- Marcos Fernando Valle – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine
- Adrian Lopez Olalde – pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison
- Omar Suarez-Garcia – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin
- Bianca Jeannette Martinez – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin
- John Paul Sanchez – pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division and the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Grand Prairie Police Department, Grapevine Police Department, Lancaster Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Haltom City Police Department, the DEA’s Boston Field Division, the 24th Judicial district Drug and Violent Crime Drug Task Force, Decatur County, TN, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Will County Sheriff’s Office, Peotone, IL., the Illinois State Police, Columbia Police Department, Columbia, South Carolina and IRS - Criminal Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney George Leal.
The case stemmed from an Organized Crime Drug Task Force (OCDETF) investigation led by the North Texas OCEDTF Strike Force. The OCDETF program was established in 1982 in order to attack and reduce the supply of illegal drugs entering the United States and to diminish violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade. The OCDETF program works with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to identify, disrupt, and dismantle, drug traffickers and drug trafficking networks.