October 08, 2014
Contact: Wendell Campbell
Phone Number: (713) 693-3000
Five Men Charged In Large-Scale Cocaine And Money Laundering Conspiracy
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Mario Capote-Morejon, 43, and Enrique Artiles-Mata aka Calvo, 54, both of McAllen, and Helvis Artiles, 25, of Mission, have been arrested along with two others on charges related to a cocaine trafficking and money laundering conspiracy, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
The three S. Texas men were charged in a sealed indictment along with Victor Pacheco-Ortiz, 35, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Osvaldo Alpizar, 57, of Miami, Fla., on Aug. 13, 2014, which was unsealed today upon their arrests. Capote-Morejon and Artiles-Mata are expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in McAllen tomorrow. Alpizar and Artiles are expected to appear in Miami and Pacheco-Ortiz will make his appearance in Brooklyn in the near future.
The indictment alleges that beginning in January 2008, all five men conspired together to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.
Artiles-Mata is further charged with knowingly engaging in a conspiracy to launder monetary transactions between Feb. 1, 2012, and up to the date of the indictment.
Also included in the indictment is a notice of criminal forfeiture regarding five South Texas real properties and one Cessna aircraft as purchases derived from the criminal activity. The United States has also provided notice of its intention to seek a personal money judgment in the amount of $1 million.
If convicted of the cocaine conspiracy, all face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million fine. Artiles-Mata further faces up to 10 years if convicted of the money laundering conspiracy.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Operation dubbed Operation Rubix Cube was conducted in various major cities throughout the United States. Participating agencies include Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service -Criminal Investigation, police departments in Aransas Pass and Corpus Christi, Texas Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security Investigations, Kingsville Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service.The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie K. Hampton. An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.