January 12, 2011
Contact: Diana Apodaca
Phone Number: (915) 832-6000
Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced To Life Imprisonment
EL PASO, TX - Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso Division of the Drug Enforcement (DEA), and John Murphy, United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas, announced that in El Paso this morning, United States District Judge Frank Montalvo sentenced 47-year-old Rigoberto Melero Aguirre, a citizen of Mexico, to life in federal prison. In addition, Judge Montalvo ordered that Aguirre pay a $1,000,000 fine and forfeit two residences located in El Paso.
On March 26, 2010, Aguirre pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Aguirre was the head of a cocaine trafficking organization-aligned with the Juarez Cartel-that was responsible for the distribution of over six tons of cocaine since 1996. Aguirre managed a network of dozens of individual who imported cocaine from Mexico into El Paso then distributed the cocaine in Texas, New Mexico and New York. Aguirre also directed the repatriation of tens of millions of dollars of drug proceeds from the United States back to Mexico.
On March 2, 2010, co-defendant Julio Cesar Burciaga pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine. As a result, he faces up to life in federal prison. Sentencing is scheduled for 9:00am on January 21, 2011, before Judge Montalvo. Four other co-defendants are serving federal prison terms for their criminal actions, including:
- Baldomero Gonzalez-Ramirez - sentenced on November 19, 2010, to 25 years in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and illegal possession of a silencer;
- Alfredo Aguirre - sentenced on December 6, 2010, to 235 months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute cocaine;
- Flor De Azucena De La Cruz - sentenced on November 4, 2010, to 70 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; and,
- Joel Ordaz Cordova - sentenced on November 16, 2010, to 18 months in federal prison for possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, El Paso Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety.The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.JustThinkTwice.comand www.dea.gov.