Several Plead Guilty In Federal Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering Conspiracies
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The last three area men arrested in January for various drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies have entered guilty pleas, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Manuel Pena aka “Super,” 47, Ignacio Pena aka “Nacho,” 44, and Jose Fidel Guajardo aka “Garfield,” 40, all of Corpus Christi, appeared before Senior United States District Judge Janis Graham Jack this morning and pleaded guilty.
Others named in the indictment, including Raul Leal Martinez aka “Indio” or “Wahoo,” 36, Rocky Bazaldua aka “Rock,” 31, David Pete Dominguez aka “Buda,” 30, and Julieann Gutierrez, 24, all also of Corpus Christi, have already pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracies.
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 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. In April 2011, Gutierrez transported nearly 500 grams of pure methamphetamine to San Antonio for Manuel Pena, with whom she was living. 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.
All defendants are set for sentencing in May 2013. With the exception of Martinez and Gutierrez, who were permitted to remain on bond, the remaining defendants will remain in custody pending the sentencing hearing. All face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million fine. Martinez and Guajardo also face up to 20 years imprisonment for the money laundering conviction.
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.