BROWNSVILLE, TX — Jesus Mauricio Juarez Jr. aka Flaco 27, has been sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a 1,000 pound marijuana load, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. He pleaded guilty in November 2013.
Senior U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle sentenced Juarez to 31 months in federal prison. In handing down the sentence, Ruben Gonzalez-Cavazos aka Mume, also pleaded guilty in relation to the conspiracy and was sentenced to 47 months in federal prison and assessed a $15,000 fine on Feb. 3, 2014. Co-defendant Francisco Javier Maya, 35, went to trial last week in Brownsville and was convicted on all counts. He will be sentenced on May 13, 2014. Adolfo Lozano-Luna aka Chefero, 35, and Alberto Martinez aka El Diablo, 50, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.
Evidence at Maya’s trial placed all five men in a conspiracy involving a 1,000 pound marijuana, which was forcibly hijacked from them by unknown individuals on Dec. 11, 2012. One month later, Juarez was injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated at his residence in Brownsville. In sentencing Juarez today, Judge Tagle discussed the bombing incident and noted that at least he and his family still have their lives.
Evidence also linked Juarez, Gonzalez-Cavazos and Maya to other marijuana loads during the conspiracy. Maya’s role in the drug trafficking organization was to provide drivers for tractor trailers to drive marijuana loads to locations to include Houston and Taylor. Maya, Juarez and Gonzalez-Cavazos would share in the profits of each successful marijuana load.
At the direction of Juarez, Maya provided bank account numbers associated with him and Gonzalez-Cavazos to Juarez in order to deposit drug profits. Juarez then made deposits stemming from narcotics proceeds from a successful marijuana load delivered to Taylor in November 2012. Evidence was presented at Maya’s trial that a $6,000 deposit was made into an account associated with Maya on Nov. 28, 2012, while another $6,500 was deposited into an account associated with Gonzalez-Cavazos on the same day.
The jury last week also heard that Maya was a follower of the Santeria religion. The jury saw photos of Maya’s residence in Mission, Texas, which depicted numerous images of what was considered to be altars showing glasses of alcohol, knives, a machete, kettles, feathers and substances that appeared to be blood. Testimony also included descriptions of two rituals involving the sacrifice of animals.
In December 2012, Maya had a Santeria priest, known as a “Padrino,” perform rituals with the organization to “bless” a 1,000 pound marijuana load that was destined for Houston. After meeting with the Padrino, Maya, Gonzalez-Cavazos and Juarez decided the marijuana load should remain in the Rio Grande Valley. The next day, a second ritual, attended by all five defendants, was performed and the 1,000 pounds of marijuana was to be transported to Houston. However, the marijuana was stolen from the group by unknown individuals that evening. After the theft and subsequent IED detonation, law enforcement was able to piece together the events and conspirators involved in this drug trafficking organization.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Brownsville Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Angel Castro and Jody Young.