Several charged in federal drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies

Local News
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A total of six men are now in custody following the return of a 41-count indictment alleging a cocaine and marijuana trafficking conspiracy, conspiracy to commit money laundering and 39 substantive drug and money laundering violations, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

During an enforcement operation today, federal agents and local officers arrested Rodolfo Hernandez Ramos, 40, Luis Ortiz III, 39, Florentino Galvan, 77, Antonio Saenz, 52, Guadalupe Gonzalez, 39, and Ulises Francisco Cortinas, 44, all of the Brownsville and McAllen areas. Also charged is Emilio Garcia Uribe, 61.

Cortinas and Gonzalez made their initial appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Morgan in Brownsville and Scott Hacker in McAllen, respectively. With the exception of Uribe, all are expected to make their appearances in Brownsville and McAllen, respectively, tomorrow. Uribe is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest.

The indictment, returned March 13, 2019, and unsealed today, charges all seven with the  drug trafficking conspiracy involving  more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana between July 1, 2014, and March 13, 2019.

All are also charged with conspiring to conduct financial transactions with drug proceeds. They allegedly transported, transmitted and transferred U.S. currency which they knew represented the proceeds from drug trafficking from the United States to Mexico. The transactions and transportation were designed to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the drug proceeds, according to the charges.

If convicted of the drug conspiracy offense, they all face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison as well as a possible $10 million maximum fine. The money laundering conspiracy carries a potential 20 years and a fine of not more than $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction or both.

Ramos also faces 28 additional substantive money laundering counts which carry the same 20-year-sentence. Also charged in some of these substantive money laundering counts along with Ramos are Ortiz, Cortinas and Saenz.

The indictment also includes 11 additional substantive possession with intent to distribute cocaine and/or marijuana counts against Ramos, Ortiz, Galvan and Uribe. If convicted on those charges, Ramos and Galvan face up to life imprisonment, while Ortiz and Uribe face up to 40 years in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS – Criminal Investigation conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation dubbed “Broken Blue Line.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Cusick is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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