Mathis man sentenced to life for drug-trafficking and money laundering conspiracies
POSTED: Saturday, June 7, 2014 - 8:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, June 7, 2014 - 8:09pm
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — Ricardo Guerrero, 55, of Mathis, has been sentenced to federal prison for conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, conspiracy to launder money and being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. A federal jury in Corpus Christi convicted Guerrero following an eight-day trial and approximately two hours of deliberation on Tuesday, March 18, 2014.
Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head, who presided over the trial, handed Guerrero a total sentence of life in federal prison. As part of his sentence, Guerrero was also ordered to forfeit three properties to the U.S. and pay a money judgment of $500,000.
During trial, the government provided evidence that Guerrero was the leader of the conspiracies, which existed from 2009 through his arrest on Sept. 26, 2013. Guerrero was proven to be a major dealer in methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.
Over the course of the two-year investigation, law enforcement agents seized more than six kilograms of methamphetamine, five kilograms of heroin and six kilograms of cocaine. In addition to these amounts, trial testimony also proved that Guerrero’s criminal organization was moving kilogram amounts of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine at least once or twice a month. He obtained the illegal narcotics from Mexico and had them crossed into the United States at Brownsville, McAllen or Laredo and stored the narcotics on numerous properties he owned in Mathis and in neighboring counties. Guerrero sold the methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine to sources throughout South Texas, as far north as Houston, and even as far west as San Antonio.
The money laundering conspiracy involved concealing money Guerrero made from his drug trafficking, primarily through cattle and vehicle auctions.
The government presented testimony from 52 witnesses, which included information about the arrests of 21 other conspirators that had been working for Guerrero in the drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies. Those defendants all entered guilty pleas to their respective roles prior to trial.
Jesus Borja-Borja, 26, of Edinburg, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy, specifically, to being Guerrero’s main source of supply in obtaining the illegal narcotics. Elena Barrera, 36, of Mathis, and Frank Coronado, 30, of Brownsville, were convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Wayne Dedow, 49, of Mathis, Miguel Montemayor, 37, of Beeville, and Douglas Massey, 34, Ricky Bazaldua, 37, and Ramon Alonzo Gonzales, 45, all from Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty for transporting or selling specific loads of narcotics for Guerrero. Six others - Krystan Rios, 23, Eddie Hernandez, 32, Victor Arocha, 54, Sulema Vasquez, 50, Jada Gregg Warren, 30, and Daniel Sosa, 44, all of San Antonio - entered guilty pleas to their roles in transporting or selling specific loads of narcotics for Guerrero.
The remaining conspirators pleaded guilty to their roles in transporting or selling narcotics for Guerrero. These included Carlos Molina, 71, and Roberto Contreras, 57, both of Robstown, Richard Pacheco, 42, of Karnes City, Lee Roy Tanguma, 38, of Beeville, Benjamin Hernandez, 38, of Sandia, and Emmanuel Pabon Lugo, 37, and Amalia Dimas, 36, both of Corpus Christi.
All 21 of the other defendants have already been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 180 months.
Those charged in relation to this case were identified through a long-term investigation conducted jointly by Homeland Security Investigations and Texas Department of Public Safety. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chad W. Cowan.