August 01, 2017
Contact: Wendell Campbell
Phone Number: (713) 693-3000
More Operation Trena Sin Trono Defendants Head To Prison
LAREDO, Texas - Four more defendants who were convicted in a marijuana trafficking and money laundering conspiracy have been ordered to federal prison, announced DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven Whipple, Houston Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Ricardo Ramirez, 31, and Leslie Bernice Trejo, 24, both of Laredo; and Salvador Saldana Medrano, 38, and Laura Heredia Garcia, 52, both of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, had all previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the respective conspiracies.
At a hearing that concluded late today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo sentenced Medrano to a total of 57 months in prison for his convictions of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Garcia and Trejo were convicted in the money laundering conspiracy and will serve respective sentences of 40 and 12 months, while Ramirez received a 37-month-term for his conviction in the drug conspiracy. The court further issued a final order of forfeiture as to Medrano in the amount of $262,000 and $260,000 as to Garcia.
Erasmo Trejo-Nava was the head of a drug trafficking organization that received marijuana loads from Mexico and arranged to transport the marijuana to the Dallas area for himself and others to include Jaime Montalvo Ruiz and Ovidio Rodriguez. The organization used various stash houses and business fronts in the Laredo area to receive and prepare the marijuana for transportation via personal vehicles to a local warehouse where it was unloaded and reloaded onto tractor trailers for transportation to the Dallas area. Following delivery of marijuana loads in the Dallas area, the Trejo-Nava Organization collected drug proceeds and arranged to have the drug proceeds transported by couriers via personal vehicle or tractor trailers to Laredo and then Nuevo Laredo. Over the course of the conspiracy which spanned from June 10, 2011, through June 4, 2013, authorities made multiple seizures of marihuana that totaled in excess of 21,000 pounds.
Ramirez was identified as being involved in the distribution of one of the marijuana loads transported by the Trejo-Nava Organization between May 15-17, 2012, which amount totaled 568 kilograms.
Medrano was involved in coordinating the delivery of marijuana loads for Ruiz to the organization for transportation to the Dallas area and then coordinating the receipt of drug proceeds from the Trejo-Nava Organization on behalf of Ruiz.
Heredia was a money courier for the organization who was primarily tasked with transporting bulk cash drug proceeds from Laredo to Nuevo Laredo. She would hide the proceeds in her personal vehicle and transport the cash through the international bridge in Laredo.
Trejo was Trejo-Nava’s daughter who had knowledge of her father’s illicit activity and whose role was to assist another identified money courier in the transportation and concealment of drug proceeds totaling $73,240.
To date, a total of 20 defendants have been convicted for their respective roles in the overall conspiracy. Nine have now been sentenced.
The last 11 defendants are scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 20, 2017, to include Trejo-Nava, 44, Rodriguez, 42, both of Laredo, and Montalvo-Ruiz, 45, of Nuevo Laredo.
The charges were the result of a long term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed Operation Trena Sin Trono spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Administration, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and IRS - Criminal Investigation with the assistance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Laredo Police Department and the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Lou Castillo is prosecuting the case.