Thursday, March 18, 2010

17 Charged In Suspected Juarez Cartel Drug Conspiracy And Money Laundering In Wisconsin

FBI SWAT, file photo

Feds seeking one suspect who remains at large

Milwaukee (HNNUSA)- On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's office in a press release, confirmed multiple suspects have been arrested at the 3000 block of W. Lincoln Ave. in the South side of Milwaukee. United States Attorney James L. Santelle said, that on Tuesday 17 individuals were arrested and had been charged in a criminal complaint with drug-trafficking of cocaine, marijuana, and money laundering offenses.
The suspects are believed to be connected with the Juarez Cartel and its drug trafficking operations in the U.S. On March 14, a U.S. Consulate worker, her husband and a Mexican national working for the consulate in Juarez were gunned down in separate shooting incidents after leaving a children's birthday party by suspected La Linea and Los Azteca gangs hired as hitmen (sicarios) for the Juarez Cartel. The victims were identified as Lesley A. Enriquez, 25, a consulate employee, and her husband, Arthur H. Redelf, 30, from El Paso, Texas. The third victim was identified as Jorge Alberto Salcido Ceniceros, 37, and the U.S. Department of State send out a mandatory order for U.S. government personnel to move their families out of the border cities of Tijuana, Nogales, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros until April 12. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation and are working with Mexican authorities to solve the homicides.
This week, more than 50 members of Los Aztecas gang affiliated with the Juarez Cartel have been arrested in El Paso by federal, state and local authorities. The operative was targeted to only gang members with prior criminal records, for the purpose of interrogating the suspects about the homicides of a U.S. Consulate worker, her husband and another man in Juarez. Federal authorities are trying to locate Eduardo "Tablas" Ravelo, the leader of Los Aztecas who is suspected of ordering the hit on the consulate worker and those associated with the U.S. Consulate in Juarez.
Federal authorities are now trying to determined, if the suspects arrested on Tuesday in the Juarez to Wisconsin drug trafficking bust have ties to the Juarez Cartel. Most of the alleged cocaine and marijuana originated in Juarez, was smuggled and transported to El Paso, Texas and eventually ended up in Milwaukee, according to federal authorities.
The defendants were identified as: Ruben Gaona, 28, Asencion Gaona,30, Jaime Alarcon, 30, David Villalobos, 40, Sergio A. Garcia Dorantes, 25, Faustino Jaramillo-Ugarte, 24, Maria Jaramillo, 28, Maria E. Alarcon, 30, Delores Reyes Kennedy, 46, Aracely Gaona, 24, Maricela Gaona, 27, Gricel Solis, 26, Miriam Salas, 29, Cynthia G. Reyes-DeReyes, 28, Juan Reyes, 26, Norma Bautista, 26, and Soccorro Lopez, 29.
On March 16, 2010, law enforcement officers from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Texas Department of Public Safety, El Paso, Texas Office, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Marshals Service, and the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety arrested sixteen of the seventeen defendants. Defendant Sergio Garcia Dorantes is still at large.
Children were also at the residence when the feds made the arrests, and they were taken to the Milwaukee County Child Services for their safety and care.
The complaint alleges that many of the defendants regularly transported multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana from El Paso, Texas, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The suspects promoted the drug conspiracy, and particular defendants wired and transported the cash proceeds back to Texas after exchanging huge quantities of $20's into $100 bills at casinos.
According to United States Attorney James L. Santelle, “These charges are the result of an aggressive, multi-state, coordinated approach to eradicate drug trafficking organizations from the streets of Milwaukee, down to – and across – the border. Anyone who assists these organizations, whether through selling or transporting drugs or laundering their money, will be held accountable.”
United States Attorney Santelle specifically commended all of the participating agencies for their cooperation and hard work on this investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gail J. Hoffman. Many of the defendants, if convicted, face between 10 years and life imprisonment, a fine of up to $4,000,000 and 5 years to life on supervised release.

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