Thirteen Locals, Who Feds Say Are Linked to Los Zetas Cartel, Indicted For Coke Trafficking
Which brings us to today's announcement from the U.S. Attorney's Office: Thirteen locals, most living in Dallas, have been charged with operating a cocaine distribution conspiracy, transporting the coke from Mexico to North Texas. And, say the feds, they are all "linked to the Los Zetas cartel." Authorities say the 13 indicted today are part of the so-called Morales-Picaso Drug Trafficking Operation.
The release says the investigation into this particular group stems from another, "Operation Greedy Grove," which wrapped in September of last year. That investigation resulted in the arrests of members of gangs operating in Highland Hills and Pleasant Grove, among them the Highland Hills Posse and the NFL Boyz -- some members of which appeared in a self-made DVD "glorify[ing] the distribution of crack cocaine and other drugs in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas and also glorify[ing] violence against the police department," the U.S. Attorney said back in January, when 31-year-old Ronald Alexander pleaded guilty.
The investigation revealed that the MPDTO was involved in the illegal importation of approximately 100 kilos per month from Mexico. Once the cocaine was smuggled across the border, the loads were distributed to members of the MPDTO in exchange for large sums of cash, which were then vacuum-sealed in bags, concealed in vehicles and transported back to Mexico. During the course of this investigation, law enforcement seized more than 36 kilograms of cocaine, seven firearms, 14 vehicles and nearly $300,000 cash, which upon conviction, will be forfeited to the U.S.The whole release follows.
DALLAS --A federal grand jury returned an indictment late yesterday charging 13 Dallas-area residents with running a cocaine distribution conspiracy, linked to the Los Zetas cartel, in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.
The indictment alleges that beginning in January 2011, the defendants conspired to possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. According to the indictment, the defendants would arrange for the transportation of the cocaine from Mexico to north Texas, and elsewhere, and coordinate its distribution and delivery. They used residences in north Texas to cut, package and distribute the cocaine and used stash houses and other locations to store the cash proceeds from the sale of the cocaine.
The FBI began its investigation into this large-scale drug trafficking organization, the Morales-Picaso Drug Trafficking Operation (MPDTO), as a result of intelligence gathered from the "Operation Greedy Grove" investigation and prosecution which targeted a large-scale cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana distribution organization known for its violence. Operation Greedy Grove culminated in September 2010 with the arrest of 28 individuals on federal and state drug charges. Law enforcement officers seized approximately three kilograms of cocaine, 14 firearms and $210,000 in U.S. Currency and assets. The 16 defendants charged federally in that case have all pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the conspiracy and most have been sentenced, including defendant Gary Montgomery, who shot a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent during his arrest.
The investigation revealed that the MPDTO was involved in the illegal importation of approximately 100 kilos per month from Mexico. Once the cocaine was smuggled across the border, the loads were distributed to members of the MPDTO in exchange for large sums of cash, which were then vacuum-sealed in bags, concealed in vehicles and transported back to Mexico. During the course of this investigation, law enforcement seized more than 36 kilograms of cocaine, seven firearms, 14 vehicles and nearly $300,000 cash, which upon conviction, will be forfeited to the U.S.
Defendants charged in the indictment are:
∙ Omar Guerrero Acosta, aka "Pilas," 28
∙ Cesar Alonzo De La Rosa Jordan, aka "Gordo," 28
∙ Rosendo Chappa, Jr., aka "Borado," 37
∙ Joel Alejandro Rodriguez, aka "Joe," 49
∙ Arturo Picaso, aka "Flaco," 30
∙ Ricardo Morales, Sr., 50
∙ Ricardo Morales, Jr., aka "Rica," 25
∙ Jose Luis Rodriguez, aka "Mas," 39
∙ William Savala, aka "Will," 37
∙ Christopher Greer, aka "TK," 37
∙ Reynaldo Facundo, 30
∙ Lino Rosales Rodriguez, 40
∙ Darick Walker, aka "Dish," 35
All defendants, with the exception of Reynaldo Facundo, Lino Rosales Rodriguez and Darick Walker are in custody.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, each defendant faces a statutory sentence of not less than 10 years or more than life in prison and a $10 million fine.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the Dallas Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert is in charge of the prosecution.