October 30, 2012
Contact: Wendell Campbell
Phone Number: (713) 693-3000
Drug Trafficking Co-conspirators Head To Federal Prison
LAREDO, Texas - Two drug and money laundering co-conspirators are headed to federal prison as a result of a long-term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed “Operation Havoc,” Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge and Javier F. Peña and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. One of those sentenced today, Jose Isabel Tobias, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Laredo, was found to have occupied a position of organizer within the Laredo-based drug transportation cell and will serve nearly 34 years in prison.
Tobias, 52, and William Vallejo, 35, a U.S. citizen residing in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, engaged in a conspiracy to distribute bulk quantities of cocaine through the use of commercial tractor-trailers and other means from Texas to Georgia and returned drug proceeds to Laredo and into Mexico. Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo sentenced Tobias, who has a prior drug conviction, to a term of 405 months in federal prison. Vallejo was ordered to serve 84 months. In addition to their terms of imprisonment, each of the defendants were ordered to pay a money judgment in the amount of $41.9 million - the amount shown to have been laundered during the course of the conspiracy.
During the course of the investigation, agents seized more than $7.5 million in drug proceeds and more than 450 kilograms of cocaine. Agents also seized a drug ledger that attributes the movement/distribution of approximately 12,500 kilograms of cocaine and $41. 9 million in drug proceeds by these and other co-conspirators.
To date, 20 other co-conspirators have been convicted and sentenced as part of this investigation. The sentences imposed thus far range from less than five to more than 33 years based upon their individual roles and involvement. Eleven other coconspirators identified in this investigation are still pending sentencing.
Operation Havoc has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement (DEA) and Homeland Security Investigations assisted by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations, and the Webb County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Graciela Rodriguez Lindberg prosecuted the case.