43 Defendants Charged in Alleged RICO Conspiracy

July 26, 2010

A criminal complaint was unsealed on Friday charging 43 defendants with participating in a federal racketeering (RICO) conspiracy. The RICO conspiracy alleged in the complaint involves the commission of both state and federal crimes, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. The complaint alleges that the defendants are members and associates of the Fernando Sanchez Organization (FSO), an offshoot of the Arellano-Felix drug-trafficking cartel.

The complaint also alleges that Jesus Quiñones Marques, the Director of International Liaison for the Baja California Attorney General’s Office, was aware of the FSO’s illegal activities and used his position to obtain confidential law enforcement information for the use of the FSO. The complaint further alleges that he was involved in making arrangements to have various rivals of the FSO arrested and detained by Mexican law enforcement officials.

The charges stem from a long-term investigation, entitled “Operation Luz Verde” (green light), conducted by the multi-agency San Diego Cross Border Violence Task Force (CBVTF), which was formulated to target those individuals involved in organized crime-related violent activities affecting both the United States and Mexico. Law enforcement personnel assigned to the CBVTF used court-authorized wiretaps and other investigative measures that led to the charges in this case.

Those charged under 18 U.S.C. 1962(d) include: Armando Villareal Heredia, age 32; Ruben Dario Castro Perez, age 35; Ivan Candelario Magana Heredia, age 33; Jose Alfredo Najera Gil, age 33; Carlos Cosme, age 34; Mario Escamilla, age 29; Ignacio Escamilla Estrada, age 49; Fausto Escamilla, age 25; Edgar Gustavo Escamilla, age 28; Jesus Quinones Marquez, age 49; Jose Antonio Ortega Nuno, age 44; Edgar Lopez De-Anda Daher, age 28; Jose Alejandro Florez Meza; Alicia Martinez, age 33; Juan Carlos Magana Heredia, age 29; Oscar Daniel Montoya Mora, age 28; Jorge Alberto Ponce; Mikael Daniel Blaser, age 20; Jonathan Valle, age 25; Armando Castillo, age 20; Omar Martinez, age 19; Enrique Salinas, Jr., age 26; Raul Moreno, age 23; Miguel Soria, age 19; Perla Carolina Jimenez, age 28; Luz Maria Benavidez Martinez, age 31; Bridgette Reynoso, age 23; Jorge Humberto Lora, age 31; Christopher Adrian Ruiz, age 36; Richard Gilbert Favela, age 26; Humberto Torres Mendoza, age 25; Juan Carlos Rique Aguirre, age 26; Telle Kreschmer, age 21; Hector Montes, age 23; Jose Contreras, age 28; Hassain Alzubaidy, age 25; Ivan Mora, age 21; Ulises Valenzuela, age 31; Benjamin Avendano, age 19; Jennifer Escamilla, age 26; Araceli Varela, age 33; Rocio Lopez, age 37; Kevin Luis, age 28.

A complaint is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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