Friday, February 24, 2012

Feds Arrested El Paso County Commissioner Gandara Jr. For Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Charges

Guillermo "Willie" Gandara Jr.

Juan Canales

Photos: El Paso County Sheriff's Department

El Paso commissioner and an associated arrested for possession with intent to deliver marijuana.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 24, 2012

El Paso, Texas - On Thursday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigators, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration announced the arrests of Guillermo "Willie" Gandara Jr., 37, of El Paso, Texas and Juan Canales, 50, of San Elizario, Texas for federal drug-trafficking and money laundering charges. Gandara is the 3rd Precint El Paso County Commissioner who recently filed as a Democrat to run as a State Representative in the 75th District.
Both Gandara and Canales are charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, and one substantive count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The federal indictment also charges Gandara with three counts of maintaining property for distributing marijuana.
The indictment alleges that from November 2010 until the present, the defendants conspired to possess and distribute over 50 kilograms of marijuana using property owned by Gandara located at 1000 Coker Road in El Paso County, Texas.
Gandara owns the Socorro Iron and Metal business in El Paso. The indictment also contains a notice of criminal forfeiture whereby the government is seeking to forfeit any and all proceeds derived from their alleged marijuana trafficking operation, according to feds.
Both Gandara and Canales are facing each up to 20 years for each count in a federal prison, if convicted.
The following agencies also assisted in the investigation: the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Border Patrol, the El Paso Police Department, and the El Paso County Sheriff's Department, according to a news release.

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