Smuggling narcotics to three cities lands traffickers in prison
LAREDO, Texas – A 47-year-old Cuban national has been sent to federal prison following his conviction of conspiring to distribute large quantities of marijuana and cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Juan Suarez-Pupo pleaded guilty March 29.
Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered Suarez-Pupo to serve 144 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that described Suarez-Pupo as a leader within the drug trafficking organization and that he oversaw smuggling operations in both Texas and Florida. He also had connections to sources of supply in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. In handing down the sentence, the court noted Suarez-Pupo’s extensive involvement in drug trafficking and his previous conviction for alien smuggling for which he had served 37 months in prison. Judge Marmolejo stated that Suarez-Pupo had placed himself in this situation by his own choices.
In April 2019, authorities initiated an investigation on a drug trafficking organization operating in Laredo. They seized 615 kilograms of marijuana and approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine. They also seized $26,000 in drug proceeds.
The marijuana had an estimated street value of approximately $400,000, while the cocaine is valued at $250,000.
Co-defendant and Laredo resident Charlie Gonzalez, 36, was previously sentenced to 135 months for his role in the conspiracy to smuggle narcotics to Houston, Dallas and Louisville, Kentucky. Judge Garcia Marmolejo found that, like Suarez-Pupo, Gonzalez was a leader within the drug trafficking organization and that he had significant involvement. The court also considered Gonzalez’s 27 prior arrests, which included 11 assaults, six gun charges, two money laundering offenses and a murder. Judge Marmolejo additionally imposed a sentencing enhancement against Gonzalez for threatening the life of the federal agent who arrested him.
Additional co-conspirators Ildefonso Martinez Jr., 40, Laredo, and Jesus Antonio Trevino-Cabrera, 43, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, were also previously sentenced for their involvement. They received prison terms of 36 and 26 months, respectively.
This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation dubbed Operation The World is Yours.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the OCDETF operation with the assistance of Border Patrol and Laredo Police Department. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Day prosecuted the case.