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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Drug Conspiracy And Money Laundering Ring Leader Heads To Prison For 30 Years

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Manuel Pena aka “Super,” 48, the leader of a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy, has been handed a significant federal sentence, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Today, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack determined Pena to be a leader in the conspiracy and sentenced him to a total of 360 months in federal prison. In handing down the sentence, Judge Jack considered his extensive criminal history and the need to protect the public from future criminal conduct. She further ordered he serve a five-year-term of supervised release following completion of his prison term and also ordered forfeiture of his interest in a property on Aaron Street in Corpus Christi.

Several others – Ignacio Pena aka “Nacho,” 45, Raul Leal Martinez aka “Indio” or “Wahoo,” 37, and, David Pete Dominguez aka “Buda,” 31, all also of Corpus Christi, previously pleaded guilty in relation to the case as well and were sentenced to 168, 85 and 120 months, respectively. Jose Guajardo aka “Garfield,” 41, Rocky Bazaldua aka “Rock,” 32, and Julieann Gutierrez, 25, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.

The indictment charged all of the defendants with conspiring from June 1, 2008, to Jan. 8, 2013, to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The investigation revealed that Manuel Pena, a member of and former leader in the Texas Syndicate prison gang, orchestrated various drug deals in the Corpus Christi area. Evidence proved that in May 2011 Manuel Pena made deals to provide cocaine and methamphetamine to Bazaldua and Dominguez. He admitted he acquired cocaine and agreed to sell methamphetamine to Guajardo. Pena also received methamphetamine from Martinez, a local home builder. Ignacio Pena, Manuel Pena’s brother, helped receive and deliver various amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine to various drug dealers in Corpus Christi.

Martinez and Guajardo also pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder the proceeds of their drug sales through various financial transactions. As part of their plea agreements, Manuel Pena, Martinez and Guajardo also agreed to forfeit their interests in various properties around Corpus Christi.

Pena has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

This case was investigated through a joint effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Texas Department of Public Safety, the Nueces and Kleberg County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass and Portland Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hess.

Updated April 30, 2015