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DEA arrest 14 members of Texas drug-trafficking organization accused of laundering money through two El Paso bars

June 25, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
DEA arrest 14 members of Texas drug-trafficking organization accused of laundering money through two El Paso bars The DEA accuses the 14 suspects of laundering illicit drug proceeds through two El Paso bars

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Federal and state law enforcement arrested 14 members of the Orrantia Drug-Trafficking Organization based in Texas including the group’s purported leader: Mario Armando Orrantia, also known as “Quezada,” earlier this week.

“This organization was disguising criminal activity in the form of business and threatening the safety of our community,” said Will Glaspy, El Paso’s DEA Special Agent in Charge.

Glaspy said the suspects were using two El Paso-area bars to launder narcotics proceeds.

The drug trafficking syndicate smuggled narcotics over the border from Mexico and were transported to the states of Colorado, Ohio, and South Carolina

A federal indictment has charged all of the defendants with conspiring and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Four others have also been accused of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Federal authorities said the drug-trafficking organization, which closely worked the Sinaloa Cartel, had remained under the influence of Orrantia, Carmen Marquez-Castillo and Jose Reyes Valdez,  smuggled hundreds of kilos of cocaine and pot into El Paso.

DEA Money Laundering Case

The DEA accuses the 14 suspects of laundering illicit drug proceeds through two El Paso bars

The narcotics were then transported to distribution points in the states of  Ohio, Colorado and South Carolina, KVIA reported.

During the probe, investigators seized five kilos of cocaine, 600 kilograms of weed, seven cars and over $138,000.

“One of the interesting aspects is that the defendants have been able to pass themselves off as legitimate businessmen,” Glaspy stated, “In fact, when we conducted a search warrant at one of the defendant’s houses, his wife expressed amazement that we were there because her husband was a businessman.”

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