Members of Drug Trafficking Organization That Trafficked Multiple Thousands of Kilograms of Marijuana from El Paso to Dumas, Texas, and Elsewhere Plead Guilty
Defendants Face Not Less Than 10 Years and Up to Life in Federal Prison
AMARILLO, Texas — Two men from Moore County, Texas, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon to federal offenses stemming from their respective roles in a marijuana trafficking organization, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Manuel Rodrigues Reyes, 48, and Maximilliano Gonzales, 50, both of Cactus, Texas, each pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana. Each faces a statutory penalty of not less than 10 years or more than life in federal prison and a $10 million fine. Manuel Reyes, who had been on bond, was continued on pretrial release pending sentencing. Maximilliano Gonzales has been in custody since his arrest in May 2016. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2017.
According to plea documents filed in the case, from approximately August 2006 through November 2015, Adan Reyes, along with his brother Guadalupe Reyes, operated a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that trafficked multiple thousands of kilograms of marijuana from El Paso, Texas, to the Dumas, Texas, area, and then to locations primarily in the Midwestern U.S. They transported the marijuana in various ways, including using vehicles and/or horse trailers with hidden compartments. Marijuana was also sometimes hidden inside bone meal.
Adan Reyes led the DTO. It employed people to transport as well as follow load vehicles from El Paso through the checkpoint, and from the checkpoints usually to the Dumas/Cactus, Texas, area, where the marijuana was warehoused at a ranch near Gruver, Texas. From the ranch, Adan Reyes used pickup trucks to drive 500 to 1,000 pound loads of marijuana to customers in the Midwest, including locations in Dodge City, Kansas, and Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri. Proceeds from the marijuana sales were driven back to the ranch in Gruver. Adan and Guadalupe Reyes shared the drug proceeds. Different drivers were used to drive the money from Gruver to El Paso to deliver Adan Reyes’ share.
Manuel Reyes performed various tasks for the Reyes DTO, including assisting in tracking marijuana loads from El Paso to Cactus/Dumas, and he would ensure the loads made it to the ranch near Gruver, where he would assist in unloading it from vehicles arriving from El Paso and onto vehicles that would transport it to customers. He also counted the drug proceeds that were returned to the ranch and ensured the drivers were paid. On multiple occasions, he also transported cash proceeds from Cactus/Dumas to El Paso.
Maximilliano Gonzales was a driver for the Reyes DTO. He drove marijuana from the ranch in Gruver to customers and was paid for each load he transported. He used a work truck with a welder containing a false compartment to transport the marijuana.
When law enforcement conducted a search at the ranch in February 2016, investigators located a white Ford truck with a welding machine mounted to the truck bed. The welder contained a false compartment that housed packaging material, digital scales, and other items associated with marijuana trafficking. There were also papers in the truck stating the vehicle was registered to, and insured by, Maximilliano Gonzales. In addition, drug ledgers indicating payments to customers as well as payments to Manuel Rodrigues Reyes and Maximilliano Gonzales were found.
Reyes was paid approximately $1,000 per week for his services in working for the Reyes DTO, thus earning at least $150,000 during his employment. According to his plea agreement, Reyes agrees to forfeit $150,000 that represents a portion of the proceeds he obtained as a result of his criminal conduct.
Adan Reyes is currently being detained in the El Paso Division of the Western District of Texas where he is awaiting sentencing on charges related to his role in the Reyes DTO. Guadalupe Reyes has pleaded guilty to similar charges and is currently on bond pending his sentencing hearing before Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater, scheduled for November 15, in the Amarillo Division of the Northern District of Texas.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office and the Cactus Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Long is in charge of the prosecution.