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Press Release

Three more sentenced in Laredo drug trafficking conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

LAREDO, Texas – Three Laredo residents have been sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and launder money, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Cesar Mendiola, 57, Rafael Rodriguez, 63, and Jose Angel Rodriguez III, 34, each pleaded guilty June 7.

U.S. District Judge Lee H Rosenthal has now imposed a 151-month term of imprisonment for Mendiola, while Rodriguez III and Rafael Rodriguez received 12 and 24 months, respectively. Each must also serve at least three years of supervised release following their sentences. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence including this drug trafficking organization’s ties to the CDN cartel. In handing down the prison terms, Judge Rosenthal also ordered Mendiola to forfeit $25,400 of drug proceeds.

Elizardo Vasquez Jr., 31, was previously sentenced to 32 months in federal prison for his involvement. Another man - Jose Angel Rodriguez Jr., 60 -  also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.

Throughout the course of this investigation, authorities seized nearly 10 kilograms of cocaine and over $147,000 in drug proceeds.

The investigation revealed brothers Rodriguez Jr. and Rafael Rodriguez would receive kilograms of cocaine from a source in Mexico and provide that cocaine to Mendiola for further distribution in and around Laredo. Rodriguez III kept records of transactions and drug proceeds for his father, Rodriguez Jr.

Mendiola and Rafael Rodriguez have been and will remain in custody while Rodriguez III, was permitted to remain on bond.  

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation with the assistance of the Webb County District Attorney’s Office, the Webb County Sheriff’s Office and the United Independent School District 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. Attorneys Anthony J. Evans and Brian Bajew prosecuted the case.

Updated November 1, 2023

Drug Trafficking