LAREDO, TX – Late this morning, a federal jury returned its verdict finding Artemio Lomas, 45, of Laredo, guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute more than 2000 pounds of marijuana, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge, Thomas E. Hinojosa and United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
United States District Court Judge Micaela Alvarez, who presided over the trial, accepted the jury’s verdicts, convicted Lomas and has set sentencing for Nov. 9, 2011. Lomas, in custody without bond since his June 15, 2011 arrest, has been ordered to remain in custody pending sentencing. Lomas faces no less than 10 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment, as well as millions of dollars in fines for each of the convictions.
During trial, the jury heard testimony from DEA Special Agents and Laredo Police Department officers, who described an investigation, which involved an undercover police officer and a confidential informant. Witnesses described how Lomas worked with the Zeta cartel in Nuevo Laredo and members of the Mexican Mafia, a criminal gang operating in Laredo, to coordinate shipments of marijuana across the border and eventually to Dallas. The DEA was able to intercept two loads of marijuana – one on June 25, 2010, and a second on August 12, 2010 – with a combined weight of 1017 kilograms and a wholesale value of more than $1 million in Dallas. The loads were in truck trailers, hidden among legitimate cargo. Lomas had organized the August load working directly with cartels in Mexico.
The jury also heard recorded conversations during which Lomas coordinated the transport of one of these loads of marijuana as well as a 911 call Lomas made after he was assaulted by other members of the drug organization angry after Lomas had lost the August 12 load intercepted by law enforcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Calhoun-Lopez prosecuted the case.