Another Drug Conspiracy and Money Laundering Ring Leader Heads to Prison for 30 Years
FEB 21 (CHRISTI, Texas) – Jose Fidel Guajardo aka "Garfield," 42, a leader of a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy, has been handed a significant federal sentence, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Today, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack determined Guajardo to be a leader in the conspiracy and sentenced him to a total of 360 months in federal prison. In handing down the sentence, Judge Jack considered his extensive criminal history and the need to protect the public from future criminal conduct. She further ordered he serve a five-year-term of supervised release following completion of his prison term and also ordered forfeiture of his interest in a property on Aaron Street in Corpus Christi.
Another leader in the conspiracy, Manuel Pena aka "Super," also received a 30-year sentence earlier this year. Several others – Ignacio Pena aka "Nacho," Raul Leal Martinez aka "Indio" or "Wahoo," and David Pete Dominguez aka "Buda," all also of Corpus Christi, previously pleaded guilty in relation to the case as well and were sentenced to 168, 85 and 120 months, respectively. Julieann Gutierrez was sentenced yesterday to 220 months, while the last defendant, Rocky Bazaldua aka "Rock," will be sentenced March 20, 2014.
The indictment charged all of the defendants with conspiring from June 1, 2008, to Jan. 8, 2013, to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. The investigation revealed Guajardo, a member of the Texas Syndicate prison gang, orchestrated various drug deals in the Corpus Christi area. Evidence proved that in March 2011 Guajardo made deals to provide 20 kilograms of cocaine to a drug distributor located in San Antonio. Guajardo also made deals with Manuel Pena to purchase methamphetamine for distribution in the Corpus Christi area.
Guajardo and Martinez also pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder the proceeds of their drug sales through various financial transactions. Evidence showed that Guajardo invested significant amounts of cash into the material, labor and services supplied in the building of homes in the Corpus Christi area. Agents determined this cash was the proceeds of illegal drug sales. As part of his plea agreement, Guajardo also agreed to forfeit his interests in various properties around Corpus Christi.
Guajardo has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.This case was investigated through a joint effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Texas Department of Public Safety, the Nueces and Kleberg County Sheriff's Offices, and the Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass and Portland Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hess.