Federal and State Authorities in El Paso Arrest 14 Defendants on Federal Drug Trafficking/Money Laundering Charges
This week, federal and state authorities arrested 14 members of the Orrantia Drug Trafficking Organization, including ringleader Mario Armando Orrantia, on federal drug trafficking charges announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr. and Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Those arrested include:
|Mario Armando Orrantia (aka “Quezada”)||51||El Paso|
|Carmen Alfredo Marquez-Castillo (aka “Viejo”, “Viejito”)||63||El Paso|
|Angela Leon (aka “Menona”)||34||El Paso|
|Humberto Aleman-Limas (aka “Paquetes”)||34||El Paso|
|Eduardo Rubalcaba||42||El Paso|
|Hugo Arturo Faudoa||51||El Paso|
|Jerry Minsu Flowers||45||El Paso|
|Pedro Jimenez||43||El Paso|
|Erik Mendoza||34||El Paso|
|Rosalina Gallegos||40||El Paso|
|Bryan Ramirez-Guerrero||22||El Paso|
|Joshua Angel Talamantes (aka “Pirata”)||27||El Paso|
|Jerry Lewis||64||El Paso|
|Jose Reyes Valdez (aka “Paco”, “Gordo”, “Gordito”)||39||Cincinnati, OH|
A federal grand jury indictment charges all of the defendants with the exception of Ramirez-Guerrero, and Gallegos with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The indictment also charges Orrantia, Carmen Marquez-Castillo, Jimenez, Lewis and Talamantes with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The indictment also charges Orrantia, Carmen Marquez-Castillo, Rubalcaba, Faudoa, Flowers, Valdez, and Mendoza with one substantive drug possession with intent to distribute charge. The indictment also charges Orrantia, Carmen Marquez-Castillo, and Leon with two counts; Valdez, Aleman-Limas, Rubalcaba, Faudoa, Flowers, Jimenez and Talamantes with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment also charges Ramirez-Guerrero with one count of bulk cash smuggling.
A separate, but related, indictment charges Talamantes and Gallegos with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
Authorities allege that this organization, under the leadership of Orrantia, Carmen Marquez-Castillo and Valdez, was responsible for the smuggling into the El Paso area hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana. The narcotics would subsequently be transported to areas across the United States, including Ohio, South Carolina, and Colorado, for further distribution. Defendants would also collect, transport and launder cash proceeds derived from the sale of narcotics.
During this investigation, authorities seized approximately five kilograms of cocaine, 600 kilograms of marijuana, seven vehicles, and over $138,000 in U.S. currency attributed to the Orrantia DTO.
All of the defendants remain in federal custody pending detention hearings expected to occur in U.S. Magistrate Court in El Paso next week. Upon conviction, all but Gallegos and Ramirez-Guerrero face between ten years and life in federal prison. Gallegos faces up to five years imprisonment upon conviction of the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years imprisonment upon conviction of the marijuana possession charge. Ramirez-Guerrero faces up to five years imprisonment on the bulk cash smuggling charge.
“This week, DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners severely disrupted the Orrantia Drug Trafficking Organization operating here in El Paso,” stated Will R. Glaspy, Special Agent in Charge, El Paso Division. “This organization was disguising criminal activity in the form of legitimate business and threatening the safety of the communities in which we work and live. DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, remains committed to bringing to justice those who import and then distribute illegal drugs in our communities.”
These federal charges resulted from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the United States Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The U.S Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations (CBP-OFO), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), El Paso Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) , Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC), and the Anthony Police Department assisted with local arrests.
The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering operations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.