JUL 31 (CHARLOTTE, N.C.) – On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. ordered Jesus Ibarra-Quen, 30, of Calif., to serve 30 months in prison for his role in a cocaine trafficking and money laundering conspiracy, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Ibarra-Quen previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering for his participation in a 2012 bulk money pick-up of $430,874 in cocaine proceeds.
Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office joins U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.
Ibarra-Quen is one of seven defendants prosecuted in connection with an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation code-named “Biscoe Kidd.” According to court records, the investigation began in December of 2011 and was led by DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force. Court records indicate that the multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency operation focused on a cocaine trafficking and money laundering organization that was selling large quantities of cocaine in the Western District and transferring the drug proceeds back to Mexico. The local group was part of international money laundering organization involved in the collection, transportation, and delivery of drug proceeds in bulk cash and wire transfers to Mexico, court records show.
To date, six other defendants have charged and sentenced:
Ruben Perez-Ruiz a/k/a Sarco, 32, of Greensboro, N.C. was sentenced on July 2, 2014 to 200 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Perez-Ruiz was the local cell leader in the organization.
Isidoro Ochoa, 33, of Jackson Springs, N.C. was sentenced on July 2, 2014 to 150 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
Nancy Sanchez, 32, of Greensboro was sentenced on July 2, 2014 to 24 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release.
Joaquin Tostado-Barraza, 40, of Ellervee, N.C. was sentenced on June 25, 2014, to 120 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
Ysrael Ayalla-Garcia, 43, of Monroe, N.C. was sentenced on June 5, 2014 to 30 months in prison.
Macario Leal, 47, of Monroe was sentenced on April 10, 2014 to 60 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release.
According to information contained in court documents and the defendants’ sentencing hearings, from about 2011 to February 2013, Perez-Ruiz was the local cell leader of the Mexican-based organization responsible for trafficking more than 150 kilograms of cocaine from Mexico to the United States, with a total street value of over $5,000,000. According to evidence presented at court proceedings, the cocaine was driven to the Charlotte area hidden in car parts.
Court records show that Perez-Ruiz was responsible for distributing the cocaine to mid-level distributors, including Leal and Ayalla-Garcia. According to court records, Perez-Ruiz was also responsible for collecting and arranging the bulk pick-ups of the drug proceeds to be delivered back to Mexico. For example, court records show that in 2012 Sanchez participated in a bulk money pick-up of $700,000 in cocaine trafficking proceeds. Just in the month of January 2012, the drug ring coordinated the bulk money transfer of over $1,000,000 of cocaine proceeds.
The defendants will serve their sentences without the possibility of parole. The investigation was led by the DEA, assisted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Monroe Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the Gastonia Police Department, the Matthews Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
The prosecution for the government was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth F. Greene of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.
OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.