News Release
May 12, 2008
Contact: Matthew Taylor
Public Information Officer

8 Arrested, 1603 Lbs of Marijuana Seized

MAY 12 -- (El Paso, Texas) – John J. Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), El Paso Field Division, announced the arrests of Rafael Garcia, Jorge Garcia, Manuel Gonzales, Aida Cervantes, Andres Cardenas, Margareta Avila, Melissa Avila and Michael Avila and the seizure of 1,603 pounds of marijuana on May 8, 2008.

The Rafael Garcia Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) has been the subject of a DEA Task Force investigation by the DEA, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, El Paso Police Department, United States Border Patrol, and the United States Attorney’s Office. The Garcia DTO is predominantly involved in the illegal importation, bulk storage, and transportation of large quantities of marijuana into the United States for Mexican drug cartels. Additionally, the Garcia DTO was responsible for transporting large quantities of marijuana to cities throughout the United States.

John J. Riley, DEA Special Agent in Charge, stated “Illegal activities associated with drug trafficking and associated violence will not be tolerated. These arrests would not have been possible without the cooperation and critical assistance of our law enforcement partners. The DEA and its law enforcement partners will hold organizations like the Garcia DTO accountable and responsible for their illicit activities.”

The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through the due process of law.