Federal Criminal Trial Resumes in Laredo Federal Court For Three Men Accused of a Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

July 23, 2013

Laredo Morning Times on July 23, 2013 released the following:

Three stand trial in alleged cocaine trafficking conspiracy

By César G. Rodriguez
Laredo Morning Times

Three men are standing trial this week in federal court before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, accused of taking part in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.

An indictment filed June 27, 2012, charges Enrique Mendez, Carlos Flores Sr., and Carlos Flores Jr., with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a quantity of at least 5 kilograms of cocaine. Mendez faces additional charges of money laundering conspiracy and obstruction by threats of force while Flores Sr. faces an added charge of possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.

Robert Flores, Homeland Security Investigations special agent, took the stand as the first witness. He talked about several surveillance instances which implicated a man identified as Elbert Figueroa and the Floreses. Federal authorities identified Figueroa as the person in charge of the connections in Mexico and the transportation cells in Laredo. Figueroa would pick up cocaine and stash it to later be moved to Atlanta. He was also in charge of receiving drug money to later be taken into Mexico. Money seizures included sums in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Agents arrested Figueroa in 2010 on conspiracy and cocaine charges. He’s yet to be sentenced.

Part of the conspiracy was to recruit individuals to perform various functions critical to the success of the organization. An indictment states that people assisted in the storage, loading, transportation, unloading, conducting surveillance and delivery of drug shipments. During the conspiracy, commercial tractor-trailers had to be used to transport cocaine from Texas to Georgia. Drug proceeds flowed down to Laredo to pay for transportation costs and other expenses. The rest of money was headed to Mexico, according to the indictment.

In opening statements, defense attorney Silverio A. Martinez Jr., who represents Mendez, said a man violated his client’s and took advantage of the yard at KCM Transportation, 645 Rancho Peñitas Road, owned by Mendez. Martinez said truckers are not supposed to fill the trailer with illicit items.

About the “kidnapping” or obstruction by threats of force allegation against Mendez, Martinez said that was false. Martinez told jurors they’ll hear testimony that the alleged victim was at a ranch cooking out and drinking beer with an illegal immigrant. The victim had his vehicle’s keys in his pocket and was never kidnapped.

Martinez told jurors that Figueroa was protecting the real “boss” in hopes that’d reduce his sentence.

The trial resumed at 8:30 a.m. today.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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


Several Individuals Charged in Texas in Alleged Murder-for-Hire Plot and Drug Conspiracy

March 26, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 26, 2012 released the following:

“LAREDO, TX—Several men have been arrested and charged in a conspiracy related to drug trafficking and/or an attempted murder-for-hire plot, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Kevin Corley, 29, and Samuel Walker, 28, both of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Shavar Davis, 29, of Denver, were taken into custody Saturday afternoon in Laredo, while Marcus Mickle, 20, and Calvin Epps, 26, both of Hopkins, South Carolina, were arrested in South Carolina. A sixth man, Mario Corley, 40, of Saginaw, Texas, was also taken into custody in relation to this case in Charleston, South Carolina.

The criminal complaint charging Corley, Walker, and Davis was filed just a short time ago in Laredo federal court, at which time they made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga. Mickle and Epps, charged in a now-unsealed indictment, are expected to make their initial appearances in Columbia, South Carolina this afternoon.

The investigation began in January 2011, when Mickle began negotiations with whom he thought were members of the Los Zetas Cartel, but were actually undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, to purchase marijuana in return for stolen weapons. The criminal complaint indicates that as they began discussions about the distribution of marijuana in the Columbia, South Carolina area, Mickle and Epps allegedly told undercover agents about a friend in the military who could provide military weapons to them. The agents were later introduced to Corley, who allegedly identified himself as an active duty officer in the U.S. Army responsible for training soldiers. He offered to provide tactical training for cartel members and to purchase weapons for the cartel under his name.

The complaint states that over the next several months, Corley continued to communicate with undercover agents regarding the services he could provide the cartel as a result of the training, experience, and access to information/equipment afforded him as an active duty soldier. According to the criminal complaint, Corley allegedly mailed an Army tactics battle book to the agents, thoroughly explained military tactics, and told undercover agents he could train 40 cartel members in two weeks.

On January 7, 2012, Corley traveled to Laredo and met with undercover agents, at which time the agents inquired about his ability to perform “wet work,” allegedly understood to mean murder-for-hire; specifically, whether he could provide a team to raid a ranch where 20 kilograms of stolen cocaine were being kept by rival cartel members. Corley confirmed he would conduct the contract killing with a small team, at a minimum comprised of himself and another person whom he described as an active duty soldier with whom he had already consulted. According to the complaint, Corley ultimately agreed to $50,000 and five kilograms of cocaine to perform the contract killing and retrieve the 20 kilograms of cocaine, and he offered to refund the money if the victim survived.

Corley further offered to provide security for Mickle and Epps’ purchase of 500 pounds of marijuana for transport from Texas to South Carolina. He traveled with them to Laredo, where they loaded the marijuana into a tractor trailer and attempted to escort it back to South Carolina. However, the tractor trailer carrying the load was stopped and seized in La Salle County, Texas, on January 14, 2012. According to the complaint, Corley continued to contact undercover agents to discuss the possibility of future transactions with the agents. Corley allegedly arranged for 300 pounds of marijuana to be delivered to Mario Corley in Charleston and allegedly assisted in brokering 500 pounds of marijuana and five kilograms of cocaine for Mickle and Epps and discussed the distribution of these narcotics in South Carolina, Texas, and Colorado.

On March 5, 2012, Corley delivered two AR-15 assault rifles with scopes, an airsoft assault rifle, five allegedly stolen ballistic vests, and other miscellaneous equipment to an undercover agent in Colorado Springs in exchange for $10,000. At the meeting, Corley and the undercover agent allegedly again discussed the contract killing and the retrieval of the cocaine, which was to occur on March 24, 2012. Corley allegedly stated he had purchased a new Ka-Bar knife to carve a “Z” into the victim’s chest and was planning on buying a hatchet to dismember the body.

On March 24, 2012, Corley, Walker, and Davis traveled to Laredo and met with undercover agents, at which time they discussed the location of the intended victim, the logistics of performing the contract kill, and their respective roles. The three were arrested, during which time a fourth suspect was shot and killed. A subsequent search of the vehicle in which Corley and the other co-conspirators arrived revealed two semi-automatic rifles with scopes, one bolt-action rifle with a scope and bipod, one hatchet, one Ka-Bar knife, one bag of .223 caliber ammunition, and one box of .300 caliber ammunition.

The criminal complaint charges conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and carries a possible punishment of a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and/or a $10 million fine. Use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking or violent crime could result in up to 10 years in prison, which is served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. Those charged in the indictment for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, including Corley, Mickle, and Epps, also face five to 40 years in prison if convicted.

Corley, Walker, and Davis are set for a detention hearing on March 29, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Song Quiroga in the Southern District of Texas. They were all remanded to federal custody pending further criminal proceedings.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the DEA and the FBI with the assistance of U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roberto Ramirez and Jody Young.

Criminal complaints and indictments are formal accusations of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.”

————————————————————–

Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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


Laredo Jury Convicts Chicago Man of Trafficking Marijuana

July 21, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on July 20, 2011 released the following:

“LAREDO, Texas – A federal jury has convicted a Chicago resident of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The jury returned its verdicts late yesterday afternoon.

United States District Court Judge George P. Kazen, who presided over the trial, accepted the verdicts convicting Hugo Cruz, 29, of Chicago, Ill. The court has ordered a presentence investigation report and will set sentencing upon completion of the report. Cruz faces a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison without parole and a $1 million fine.

During trial, the jury heard testimony from Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, who described the events of June 28, 2010. On that date, during an inspection of a 1997 Econoline van being driven by Marco Antonio Toledo at the Lincoln Juarez Bridge, CBP officers recovered 37 bundles of marijuana hidden in the side panels of the vehicle. Toledo was arrested, charged and has been subsequently convicted by guilty plea of possession with intent to distribute the marijuana and sentenced to 24 months in federal prison without parole. As a result of the continued ICE-HSI investigation, agents learned that the marijuana was obtained in Guadalajara, Mexico, and bound for Chicago and Cruz.

The defense attempted to convince the jury that Cruz had merely ridden as a passenger with Toledo to Mexico to see his sick father because he was short on money and had flown back to Chicago after Toledo had left to return to the United States. However, through testimony of a variety of witnesses including business personnel and records, the government proved that Cruz had supplied the van with the hidden compartments to Toledo, promised Toledo $10,000 for transporting the contraband from Mexico to Chicago, traveled to Mexico with Toledo, arranged for and supervised the loading of the van with the contraband and sent Toledo back to the United States alone. Witnesses also testified that Cruz transferred the title to the van from his father’s name to Toledo’s name while in Chicago and arranged for and paid for American and Mexican Insurance for the vehicle. Six days later, on June 21, Cruz picked up Toledo at his residence in the van and they traveled together to the border and into Mexico. Through receipts, the government proved that Cruz paid for everything along the way and, while in Mexico, arranged for Toledo to receive 700 pesos for expenses. Cruz flew back to Chicago four days later.

The jury returned its guilty verdicts after approximately one and a half hours of deliberation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jim Hepburn and Roel Canales are prosecuting the case.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

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.

Bookmark and Share