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Cartel operators and church deacon admit to role in Texas drug smuggling network

September 23, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cartel operators and church deacon admit to role in Texas drug smuggling network

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Two cartel-associated traffickers confessed to their position in a drug smuggling group that transported large volumes of marijuana from the border into several American cities.

On Wednesday Manuel Rodriguez-Reyes, 48 and Maximiliano Gonzales, 50, stood before U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater and both pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy and possession charges. Reyes is released on bond while Gonzales will continue to remain in custody until their sentencing date scheduled for January.

The two men were among 19 co-conspirators including a Corpus Christie Church deacon charged in connection with the drug smuggling operation.

Federal rosecutors said 54-year-old Luis Ulysses Carrasco Reid,  pleaded guilty last Friday to one count of conspiracy to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute for his role in smuggling tons of marijuana from El Paso and Arizona for distribution across the country, according to the El Paso Times.

Reid was a deacon for three years at the Corpus Christi Catholic Church before resigning after his 2014 arrest.

Court documents indicate that Rodriguez-Reyes was a member of a cartel-linked drug trafficking group named by authorities as the Reyes DTO or drug trafficking organization.

Luis Ulysses Carrasco Reid as seen on his LinkedIn page

Luis Ulysses Carrasco Reid as seen on his LinkedIn page

The heads of the organization have been named in court records as Adan and Guadalupe Reyes. Both men are currently in federal custody and are awaiting sentencing following their guilty plea to charges of drug conspiracy.

Although court records have not exposed which Mexican drug cartel the Reyes DTO collaborated with, the group is widely known for transporting large quantities of weed from El Paso to the Texas Panhandle. Drugs were then subsequently transferred to multiple cities in Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

According to a report previously published by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, El Paso, Texas, which is a border city, is an area that is utilized by the Sinaloa, Juarez, and Beltran Leyva Cartels.

Court records also indicate that Manuel Rodriguez-Reyes completed various tasks for the Reyes DTO, which included providing assistance in tracking marijuana loads from El Paso to the Texas panhandle cities of Dumas and Cactus.

Once the drugs arrived, Manuel Reyes would guarantee that the loads made it to a ranch near Gruver, where cargo would then be brought to consumers.

Rodriguez-Reyes was also in charge of counting the drug proceeds that were returned to the ranch and paid the drivers. On multiple occurrences, he also carried cash profits from the ranch back to El Paso.

Once the drugs arrived, Manuel Reyes would guarantee that the loads made it to a ranch near Gruver, where cargo would then be brought to consumers.

Rodriguez-Reyes was also in charge of counting the drug proceeds that were returned to the ranch and paid the drivers. On multiple occurrences, he also carried cash profits from the ranch back to El Paso.

Reports also revealed that Maximiliano Gonzales was a driver for the criminal group.

The man would drive a vehicle packed with marijuana from Gruver to their clients and was paid for each load he moved.

Details revealed in court indicate that Gonzales used a work truck with a welder containing a concealed compartment to transport the drugs.

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