According to the Feds, the (Repetitive) Life and (Precarious) Times of a Coke Kingpin in Dallas
If, by any chance, you spent the first few months of this year blowing lines in the bathroom of various clubs around town, there's a decent chance the source of your cocaine was Christian "Cri Cri" Ocana, who the feds believe was running a Dallas off-shoot of a nationwide drug ring busted this week.
An alleged coke trafficker used this Knox-Henderson-area apartment as his stash house.
And, if the feds are right, there's a decent chance your purchase caused some circuitous marital bickering between Ocana and his loving wife and mother-in-law. Drug traffickers: They're just like us!
According to court records, federal agents zeroed in on Ocana's Dallas operation in November while investigating the Forth Worth-based trafficking organization of Rigo Orozco. The agents quickly reserved some of their focus for Ocana and his associates around Dallas, keeping a watchful eye on a warehouse in northwest Dallas and a "trap apartment" near Knox-Henderson.
When the feds picked up on him last winter, tapping his phones and following him more or less everywhere, Ocana was having a rough go of it. He'd lost some suppliers earlier in the year, the feds learned, because those suppliers were convinced that Ocana was under surveillance. (He wasn't yet, at least not by the investigators who made this case.) Now it was the middle of December, apparently the off season for coke-wolfing.
"Ocana complained about how slow things were," FBI agent Andrew Ferrell writes in his account of the investigation. Ocana's unnamed associate agreed. "He was having troubles and he was fucked up but he doesn't know what else to do but to just hold on," Ferrell writes, recalling the conversation.
On December 21, though, they saw some action. Ocana ordered a half kilo from an unnamed source, and asked the source to meet him at an apartment the feds call Ocana's "trap house" -- a place he used only to store and deal cocaine. It's at 2107 Moser Avenue, around the corner from the Pearl Cup and Sushi Axiom. Agents watched a black Jeep pull up and a man deliver a package inside.
As the holidays came, business was still picking up for Ocana, the records show. A Christmas Day delivery of one kilo came to his home in Grand Prairie, where agents say they watched Ocana exhange bags with the driver of a Ford Explorer. Later that day, though, Ocana got a call from an a supplier, whose basic message was: Don't you watch The Wire, fool?
"Do you have another frog number I can call you on?" the supplier asked Ocana, referring to the push-to-talk cell phones the dealers used.
I don't, Ocana said. Why?
"When they came out of there, they're in traffic on the freeway," the supplier said. "They were bumper to bumper with them."
In other words: You're being watched.
"Change that fucking number now!" the supplier said. "Change that fucking number. You've had that number for a long time."
But Ocana, it seems, didn't listen. Just a week later, as he prepared to take delivery on another two-kilo batch of coke, agents heard him call his wife, Diana Rangel, and ask her to confirm that there was enough money to make the buy. Later, agents say, Ocana and Rangel took their two children from their Grand Prairie home to the Moser stash house for the shipment. Rangel left with the smaller child before the couriers showed up, but the younger child joined Ocana at the couriers' car to pick up the delivery.
Indeed, Ocana's drug-dealing was a family affair. In another call, the feds listened as Ocana asked his wife to check how much money he'd left at her mother's apartment. It was either five grand or eight grand. He just couldn't remember.
His wife called upstairs to her father and asked him to bring down the money so she could count it. It was actually $13,000, Rangel told him, but she didn't miss the opportunity to get something out there: Her mom had told her to tell Ocana that if he didn't trust his own mother-in-law to watch the money, well, then, he could just keep the money somewhere else.
"Ocana said no," Ferrell writes, "he's not saying that, he just thought she brought him less money."
Disaster averted -- although it wouldn't be the last Ocana heard from his wife.
By this time, demand was picking up around town. On January 15, the feds say, Ocana got a call from a lower-level dealer who needed to replenish his stash. The dealer, Longino Ruiz, had shown up at the Moser stash house to re-up, but Ocana wasn't there. And he wasn't happy Ruiz was already dry. He'd told him to take more in the first place.
"Boss, but I never thought it would all go that fast," Ruiz told him.
"Fuck it," Ocana said. "What do you need?"
"Well, a little seven," Ruiz said, using code the feds don't explain.
"You son of a bitch, that's why I told you ... I already knew you would finish it all up."
Luckily, Ocana's stash was as secure a suburban latch key kid's house, and finding the valuables inside required the sleuthing of a mom looking for her son's porn. In multiple conversations tapped by the feds, Ocana discussed coke and cash stashed behind a TV, in pants pockets and, yes, in a sock drawer.
"The key is there," Ocana told Ruiz. "Just take one."
"In which rock?"
"It's right there against the wall."
The feds continued to follow Ocana's dealings into February and March. They watched meetings and drug deals all around the region: Lupita's Taqueria on Henderson, a gas station at Highway 175 and Masters, a body shop in Balch Springs, and insurance company parking lot near Capitol and Fitzhugh and a Home Depot near Forest and Grissom. They also kept on that Moser stash house, where drivers were always exchanging packages, and where the feds once watched Ocana drop an Igloo cooler from his balcony and into the hands of an apparent dealer.
According to the feds' timeline, sometime in March this surveillance led them to Hugo Cordoba, one of Ocana's suppliers. Cordoba, the feds say, was importing large amounts of cocaine directly form Mexico, bricks stashed in "load cars" and delivered to his warehouse at 2630 Northaven, near Denton Drive, in northwest Dallas. Cordoba also sent cash back to Mexico -- as much as $300,000 on one trip alone, according Farrell's account. By mid-April, a federal judge was signing off on a pole-mounted camera to keep watch on the warehouse -- just in time for the fireworks.
Cordoba and Ocana were always careful about avoiding obvious drug jargon in their dealings. But when a band of gun-waving robbers showed up at Cordoba's warehouse on April 21, they made it even clearer what was happening inside.
"Where are the kilos, bastard?" one robber asked.
"In the Jeep," someone responded. But the robbers couldn't find it at first.
"Why are you saying it's over there when it's over here," someone said.
"Shoot him, dude," another robber chimed in. "Shoot him."
The robbers left shortly after.
"They took everything," Cordoba told an associate on the phone. "Let's get the fuck out of here, because [the cops are] going to be around after what happened."
Of course, they already were around. They'd been watching live as the robbery went down.
Farrell's report tails off not long after that, with very little surveillance chronicled after the April heist. It's unclear when they finally felt they made their case, but this week, both men were included among dozens of arrests, charged with trafficking large amounts of cocaine.
Among those arrested was Ocana's wife, Diana Rangel. Judging by Farrell's account, she may have been surprised to be included.
Back in February, Rangel had seemingly started to sour on her husband's profession. In an argument over Ocana not coming home, Farrell writes, "Rangel told Christian Ocana that he thought he was just a badass, and later when he gets caught, he will see who gets him out."
"'I sell drugs, and I think I'm such a badass,'" Rangel said, mocking her husband. "You will see when they catch you."