LAREDO, TX — A total of seven people are headed to prison for their roles in a conspiracy to transport five kilograms or more of cocaine and international money laundering, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Juan Ramon Ibarra Jr., 31, Salvador Rodriguez-Fajardo, 39, Ricardo Garza, 40, Moises Andrade, 22, and Laura Rodriguez, 43, all of Laredo, Rene Cardenas, 38, of Miami, Fla., and Salvador Ibarra De-Alba, 49, of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, each previously pleaded guilty at varying times in 2013.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, who accepted the guilty pleas, handed Ibarra Jr. a total sentence of 188 months in prison. Salvador Ibarra De-Alba received a sentence of 135 months, while Cardenas, Rodriguez-Fajardo, Garza, Andrade and Rodriguez received respective sentences of 78, 120, 84, 37 and 24 months in prison. The court further entered a money judgment in the amount of $2,408,204 against all seven. Not U.S. citizens, De-Alba, Rodriguez-Fajardo and Rodriguez are expected to face deportation proceedings following their release from prison, while the remaining defendants will serve between three and five years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms.
De-Alba admitted he supplied cocaine to relatives living in Laredo and ensured its transportation further north into the United States. After the arrest of De-Alba’s brother, Juan Ramon Ibarra Sr., in 2010, De-Alba worked with his nephew, Juan Ramon Ibarra Jr., to continue the transportation of cocaine.
In 2010, Ibarra Sr. pleaded guilty to his role in the drug conspiracy and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez to 130 months in federal prison. Following Ibarra Sr.’s arrest, Ibarra Jr. assumed the role of his father and continued the transportation of cocaine for the drug trafficking organization.
In his plea, Ibarra Jr. admitted he participated in the transportation of cocaine to Miami since 2004. He and his father coordinated with Cardenas and the other co-conspirators to transport the drugs in aftermarket compartments installed in the rear wheel axles of tractor-trailers. In May 2010, agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) came upon several co-conspirators loading over 12 kilograms of cocaine into this secret compartment. Once the cocaine was delivered to Miami, the compartment was loaded with large amounts of United States currency destined for Nuevo Laredo. One such load was intercepted in March 2010 when agents recovered approximately $422,000 in the compartment with a drug ledger.
On three separate occasions in July and August 2011, Garza delivered cocaine to Rodriguez-Fajardo at a Home Depot parking lot. Rodriguez-Fajardo stored the cocaine in a secret compartment located behind a stove in the house he shared with his wife, Laura Rodriguez.
Rodriguez assisted Rodriguez-Fajardo in carrying out the conspiracy. On one occasion, she traveled to St. Augustine Square in downtown Laredo to collect money for him and another person as payment for their services.
Andrade admitted to his role in the transportation of one cocaine load on Aug. 7, 2011, for which he received $500.
The case is the result of a two-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed Silver Fox Hunt led by the DEA with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys James Hepburn and Elizabeth Rabe are handling the case.