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6 men indicted for cocaine trafficking

6 men indicted for cocaine trafficking

28 News 04/21/2022 1775

MCALLEN, Texas – Several south Texas men are facing up to life in prison for their alleged roles in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hidalgo County HIDTA Task Force. The following police departments also assisted in this enforcement action, Hidalgo, Mission, McAllen, Alton, Palmview, and Pharr.

On April 19, a federal grand jury returned a multi-count indictment against the following citizens of Mexico, Oscar Obed Manzanares, 22, Jose Bernardo Gonzalez-Gomez, 55, Jose Santiago Luna-Duran, 45, Arlando Garcia-Garcia, 40, and Martin Vela-Alanis, 58, both legal permanent residents from Edinburg, Texas; and Martin Adrusbel Vela, 35, also from Edinburg. Vela-Alanis was additionally indicted for allegedly being a felon in possession of a firearm.

All six were originally charged by criminal complaint and are expected to appear before a federal judge to face charges. The court has not yet set the date and time for that hearing.

According to court documents, the charges allege that on March 22, Manzanares traveled into the United States from Mexico in a GMC vehicle and parked at a local business in McAllen. Luna-Duran then took the vehicle to a property in Edinburg where law enforcement allegedly observed individuals exchange items between the GMC and a Ford pickup truck. The charges allege Luna-Duran then brought the GMC back to Manzanares at the nearby business, while Garcia-Garcia took the Ford and continued to a separate residence where he removed a large duffel bag from the truck.

Vela and Vela-Alanis allegedly resided on the property. Garcia-Garcia and Gonzalez-Gomez were also present. Law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence where they recovered a duffel bag containing 15 bundles of a white powdery substance. The bundles allegedly field-tested positive for cocaine and had a weight of approximately 15 kilograms. The charges also allege they found over $90,000 and a black and gold Colt Model 1911 pistol. At the same time, Luna-Duran allegedly returned to the business where authorities ultimately detained him as well as Manzanares. A K-9 search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of bulk cash amounting to more than $238,000.

If convicted, everyone faces up to life in prison as well as a possible $10 million dollar fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Brostowin, Southern District of Texas,  is prosecuting the case.

HSI encourages you to report suspicious activity, you are urged to call 1-866-348-2423.

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