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Federal Jury Convicts Eagle Pass Brothers for Role in Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy

OCT 26 (DEL RIO, Texas) - Late Friday in Del Rio, a federal jury convicted 36–year-old Xavier Cardona and his 32-year-old brother, Michael Cardona of distributing approximately two kilograms of cocaine in the Eagle Pass, TX, area Announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division, United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division and Acting Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Mark Dawson, San Antonio.

Jurors found the brothers, owners of Real Street Paint and Body Shop in Eagle Pass, guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine. They also found Michael Cardona guilty of possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine.

Evidence presented in trial revealed that from January 2009 until April 2014, the Cardonas used Real Street Paint and Body Shop and Michael’s residence to sell cocaine and launder drug proceeds. The Cardona brothers used the proceeds from their cocaine distribution to fuel their lifestyle of custom built modified cars that they showed at various car shows in Texas and to buy and remodel homes. During recorded phone calls played at trial, Michael Cardona stated that he provided cocaine to other dealers already packaged and cut so that it would move more quickly. Testimony and evidence showed that the Cardonas also employed firearms in their drug trafficking business. A search of the residences of both brothers resulted in the seizure of $162,795 in currency, approximately 160 packages of cocaine ready for distribution and five weapons.

The government is seeking the criminal forfeiture in this case of property owned by the defendants including Michael Cardona’s residence located on Roosevelt Street in Eagle Pass as well as five firearms and an assortment of ammunition, magazines and firearm accessories. Those items, along with two vehicles and the U.S. currency which have already been forfeited to the government, were seized by federal authorities as a result of related search warrants executed in April 2014. Both defendants have remained in federal custody since their arrests on April 23, 2014.

Both defendants face between five and 40 years in federal prison on the drug conspiracy charge. Michael Cardona also faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the drug possession charge. Sentencing is scheduled for June 13, 2016, before United States District Judge Alia Moses in Del Rio.

The case resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and United States Border Patrol. Also assisting in the investigation was the Texas Department of Public Safety - Criminal Investigations Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Ralph Paradiso, Lewis Thomas and Diana Cruz-Zapata are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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