EL PASO, Texas - Federal and state law enforcement officers arrested 14 alleged members of the Orrantia Drug Trafficking Organization, including the alleged ringleader: Mario Armando Orrantia, 51, aka "Quezada."
Those arrested include:
- Carmen Marquez Castillo, 63
- Angela Leon, 34
- Humberto Aleman-Limas, 34
- Eduardo Rubalcaba, 42
- Hugo Arturo Faudoa, 51
- Jerry Minsu Flowers, 45
- Pedro Jimenez, 43
- Erik Mendoza, 34
- Rosalina Gallegos, 40
- Bryan Ramirez-Guerrero, 22
- Joshua Angel Talamantes, 27
- Jerry Lewis, 64
- Jose Reyes Valdez, 39
"This organization was disguising criminal activity in the form of legitimate business and threatening the safety of our community," said Will Glaspy, DEA Special Agent in Charge in El Paso.
Glaspy said the defendants were using bars to launder drugs. "The Tres Mentiras and Mas T Kila bars," Glaspy said.
ABC-7 called the owners of the bars and left messages. We have not heard back.
A federal indictment charges all of the defendants, with the exception of Ramirez-Guerrero and Gallegos, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
Orrantia, Marquez-Castillo, Jimenez, Lewis, and Talamantes are also charged with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute marijuana.
The indictment also charges Orrantia, Marquez-Castillo, Leon, Valdez, Aleman-Limas, Rubalcaba, Faudoa, Flowers, Jimenez, and Talamantes with money laundering.
Ramirez-Guerrero is charged with "bulk cash smuggling."
Federal officials said the organization, under the leadership of Orrantia, Marquez-Castillo and Valdez, smuggled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana into El Paso.
The narcotics were then transported for Ohio, Colorado and South Carolina for further distribution across the US, federal officials said.
During the investigation, federal investigators seized five kilograms of cocaine, 600 kilograms of marijuana, seven vehicles and more than $138,000 in US currency.
"One of the more interesting aspects of this investigation is that the primary defendants in the case have been able to pass themselves off as legitimate businessmen," Glaspy said, "In fact, when we conducted a federal search warrant at one of the defendant's houses, his wife expressed amazement that we were there because her husband was just a businessman."