May 15, 2017
Contact: Wendell Campbell
Phone Number: (713) 693-3000
3 Laredo Men Convicted Of Drug Trafficking
LAREDO, Texas - Three Laredo men have entered guilty pleas for their roles in a conspiracy to traffic drugs from Laredo to the Dallas area via the use of tractor trailers, announced DEA Special Agent-in-Charge of the Houston Division Joseph M. Arabit and Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Armando Eloy Gutierrez, 38, Javier Mota Villanueva, 33, and Leopoldo Rodriguez III, 25, entered pleas of guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.
In August 2013, authorities identified a drug trafficking organization responsible for the transportation and distribution of kilogram quantities of marijuana from Laredo to the Dallas area. Gutierrez was in charge of finding warehouses for the organization to use and then soliciting shipping companies to transport trailers with marijuana and cover with loads of merchandise. He would also act as a scout by following the drivers through checkpoint. Once through, he would then drive with others to the Dallas or Fort Worth area to assist in receiving and unloading the drugs.
Mota-Villanueva worked at the warehouses. He wrapped the marijuana, moved pallets and loaded the drugs onto trailers. He would also travel to Dallas along with Gutierrez.
Rodriguez was tasked with wrapping marijuana and assisting with loading of narcotics onto trailers at a warehouse.
The investigation revealed three warehouse in Laredo that the organization used at different periods from on or about September 2013 to on or about July 31, 2014. They were located on the 1800 block of Aduanales, 200 block of Corpus Christi Street and the 1600 block of West Calton. Three separate marijuana loads were seized that originated from each one of the three warehouses, totaling more than 1600 kilograms.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Scott Hacker accepted the pleas today. Sentencing will be before U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen at a date to be determined. Due to the amounts for which they are held accountable, Gutierrez and Villanueva face a minimum 10 years and up to life in federal prison. Rodriguez faces a minimum of five and up to 40 years imprisonment.
Gutierrez and Mota will remain in custody, while Rodriguez was permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with the assistance of task force members of the Webb County District Attorney’s Office and the Laredo Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Lou Castillo is prosecuting the case.