CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Two men charged separately in related cases have been sentenced to prison for their involvement in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and launder the drug proceeds, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent In Charge Thomas Hinojosa and United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Senior United States District Judge Hayden Head sentenced Marin Herrera, 57, of McAllen, and Omar Alvarez, 38, Sullivan City, Texas, confirmed leaders of a drug trafficking and money laundering organization, at a hearing today. Herrera was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment on each of two counts of conviction to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release and fined him $25,000. Judge Head sentenced Alvarez to 180 months imprisonment to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release and also fined him $25,000. In addition to the prison sentences, the court granted the government’s motions to forfeit the interest of these men in 77 pieces of real property, which were either acquired with or used to facilitate their crimes. The properties which now belong to the United States include a subdivision in McAllen, Texas, used to launder illegal drug proceeds, two lots and two residences.
Herrera, charged in case number C-10-525, pleaded guilty in September 2010 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments from 2006 to 2010. Alvarez, charged in case number C-09-646, pleaded guilty in January 2010 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Herrera and Alvarez occupied positions as leaders of a drug trafficking and money laundering organization which distributed more than 300 kilograms of cocaine from January 2006 to June 2010, with distribution points in Miami, Fla., Chicago, Ill., Atlanta, Ga., and Houston. The organization also laundered more than $4 million in United States currency during the same time period. Herrera used his two Corpus Christi area real estate businesses - New Millennium Developers LLC and Herrera Property & Investments - to launder the drug proceeds for the drug organization with which he worked. Alvarez used one of his residences in Sullivan City, Texas, as a trans-shipment location for this organization’s cocaine and drug proceeds.
The investigations leading to the criminal charges were conducted in Houston, McAllen and Corpus Christi lead by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Hampton is prosecuting these cases.