Three traffickers sentenced for smuggling meth, heroin and cocaine for cartel
LAREDO, Texas – Two Mexican nationals and one Texas man who are associated with the Jalisco Cartel have been sent to federal prison following their convictions of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute eight kilograms of meth, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Gustavo Arocha, 47, Uriel Lopez, 45, both of Michoacan, Mexico, pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2021, and Dec. 7, 2020, respectively. Juan Hinojosa, 49, Laredo, pleaded guilty Feb. 5, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana imposed a 240-month term of imprisonment for Arocha, while Sanchez and Hinojosa received 108 and 120 months, respectively. Not U.S. citizens, Arocha and Lopez are expected to face removal proceedings following their imprisonment.
At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence detailing how the traffickers also conspired to import an additional 27 kilograms of heroin and planned to bring 100 kilograms of cocaine into the country from Mexico. In handing down the prison terms, Judge Saldana noted the importation of illegal drugs brought pain and suffering to the community.
The investigation revealed that from May 4, 2018, to Oct. 28, 2019, Arocha, Lopez and Hinojosa conspired to import illegal drugs into the United States through Laredo. During the hearing, the court heard Arocha was the ringleader of the organization and was connected to a source of supply in Mexico with potential buyers in the United States.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Operation dubbed Dart Monkey with the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Laredo Police Department and Webb County Sheriff’s Office. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, mutlti-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Graciela Lindberg, Jennifer Day and Francisco J. Rodriguez prosecuted the case.