Mission, Texas Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Role in Drug Trafficking / Money Laundering Conspiracy
In San Antonio yesterday afternoon, a federal judge sentenced 46–year-old Reymundo Villarreal-Arelis (aka “Mundo”) of Mission, TX, to 20 years imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release for his role in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy occurring in South Texas, Central Texas and Oklahoma announced United States Attorney John F. Bash, Western District of Texas; United States Attorney Ryan K. Patrick, Southern District of Texas; Acting Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui, San Antonio Division; and, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division.
On June 15, 2017, jurors convicted Villarreal-Arelis on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Jurors found that Villarreal-Arelis and others, including 12 relatives, conspired to (1) engage in financial transactions using proceeds derived from the importation, receipt, concealment, purchase, and/or selling cocaine; and (2) transport or transmit monetary instruments to locations outside of the United States in an effort to conceal the source, ownership and control of proceeds derived from unlawful activity.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that the defendant was a member of a significant Rio Grande Valley cocaine trafficking family known as “Los Piojos” led by brothers Gilberto Villarreal-Arelis, Reymundo Villarreal-Arelis, and Juan Villarreal-Arelis (aka ”Juando”) along with their nephew, Jose Luis Villarreal-Gonzalez (aka “Nune”). Beginning in 2000, this organization was responsible for the importation and distribution of thousands of kilograms of cocaine supplied by the Gulf Cartel and subsequently by Los Zetas. This organization maintained control over smuggling routes stretching from Guatemala to Diaz Ordaz, Mexico, across from McAllen, TX. Cocaine was smuggled into and kept in stash houses in McAllen before being transported to San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Florida.
Testimony during trial revealed that cocaine sales generated millions of dollars for this organization, some of which was used to purchase more than 50 quarter horses. The defendants used the horse racing industry as one money laundering mechanism for their illegal proceeds.
During this investigation, authorities seized 280 kilograms of cocaine and between $15-20 million in assets attributed to the criminal activity of the defendants, including cash in various bank accounts, quarter horses, the Riverside Plaza shopping center in Mission, numerous residences and other real estate properties.
To date, 14 individuals and two companies have pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with this investigation. Terms for 13 individuals previously sentenced range from probation to 216 months incarceration. Sergio Guadalupe Adame–Ochoa, Alan Land LP, and Alan Management LLC are scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2018. On March 19, 2018, three additional defendant companies--Edison Commerical, LP; Edison Investments, LLC; and Antequera Partners, LP—are scheduled for jury selection and trial on money laundering conspiracy charges. Defendant Gilberto Villarreal-Arelis (aka “Beto”, “Betito”) remains a fugitive.
This investigation was conducted by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Waco Treasury Task Force, which is comprised of the IRS-CI, the Irving Police Department, the Woodway Public Safety Department and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, together with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s McAllen, San Antonio and Houston field offices, the Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Marshals Service.