Six illegal aliens with ties to a drug cartel in Mexico were busted in a complex drug trafficking operation last week in North Carolina, according to press reports. The members of the cartel arrested are a rival to the Sinaloa cartel, whose murderous leader El Chapo Guzman was convicted last week on federal drug trafficking charges.
The huge illegal narcotics operations involved transporting large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine across state lines, such as from Texas, to Georgia and then North Carolina. The federal agents who made the arrests identified the illegal suspects as Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez, Francisco Garcia-Martinez, Rodolfo Martinez, Raul Rangel-Gutierrez and Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez. (Foxnews.com).
According to federal court documents, members of the federal investigative team believe that Oscar and Regulo regularly transport illegal money, derived from the sale of drugs, when they drive from Myrtle Beach to Charlotte. This information was based on wire intercepts and police surveillance.
Confidential Informant (CI) Provides Vital Information
A confidential informant started to work with federal agents in March 2018. The informant gave law enforcement accounts of the drug smuggling activities that had been occurring for years, and gave the name of the drug cartel the men worked with - the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. According to the informant, they were working with the cartel for eight years, and transported millions of dollars that they think was made from selling drugs.
Information given to the confidential informant from people in Vera Cruz, Mexico stated that Oscar was one of the highest level drug cartel members in the United States.
During the investigation, the federal agents working with the CI, made several drug purchases from homes in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. From the end of Aug 2018 to Sept. 2018, the federal agents were able to buy nearly two kilograms of pure methamphetamine from Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez. This purchase allowed the federal agents to wiretap several phones of drug cartel members. Over the next several months, law enforcement watched Rangel-Gutierrez’ home and activities in his business.
In January 2018, a 2015 Camry black in color with tags from South Carolina belonging to Francisco Garcia-Martinez moved $80,000 from South Carolina to Houston, according to a federal criminal complaint. The complaint states that two of the men were seen driving from a jobsite in Myrtle Beach to Charlotte with drug trafficking money.
The men have been accused of conspiracy to distribute or intent to distribute ½ a kilogram of a mixture that contained five kilos of cocaine and methamphetamine. (wpde.com).
Charlotte Neighbors Convey Shock at Illegal Activity
A woman who lived near the home in Charlotte where federal agents said one of the men stored illegal drug money, said that she was shocked about the true nature of their neighbors. Misty Joyner said she was devastated and that they appeared to be good people.
Rangel-Gutierrez and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel has attempted to stage major incursions into the rival Sinaloa territory. This has led to bloody turf wars in places including Tijuana. That border city across from San Diego has become one of the deadliest cities on earth in recent years.
Guzman the Sinaloa leader was convicted last week in federal court. This means he will probably spend decades in prison in the US. Guzman became infamous for escaping twice from maximum security prisons. These stunts earned him international notoriety that could possibly be only rivaled by the deceased drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
US Investigators Convicted El Chapo - Now They Are After His $14 Billion
It has been a good year for federal agents who have been hard at work busting major drug cartels. In addition to the above huge drug bust in Charlotte, last week a federal jury in New York convicted El Chapo Guzman on all 10 federal charges, including money laundering and drug trafficking. (businessinsider.com).
Guzman faces sentencing in late June and probably will get a life term. The convicted drug lord is 61 years old and will probably be put in ADX Florence in Colorado. No inmate has ever escaped from the maximum security prison.
While Guzman will probably never leave prison alive, there is still work to be done by federal agents. Now they want to seize the billions of dollars his continuing criminal enterprise continues to produce, which could be $14 billion or more in total worth. This amount that the US government expects to come from the Guzman conviction is the highest amount set yet to all of his criminal activities. However, it is unclear how federal prosecutors arrived at that number or if that much money exists.
A former assistant US attorney stated last week the $14 billion figure was the cumulative amount based upon his entire drug trafficking enterprise. But federal prosecutors have never exactly spelled out where all that money comes from.
The federal government of the United States intends to obtain a forfeiture judgment against Guzman in the amount of cash they think is the proceeds of his drug offenses, according to a former US prosecutor.
When the US government catches a high profile person such as Guzman, they set a large amount without knowing for sure if the person actually has that much money, says Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the DEA.
It is clear the drug kingpin has been made very wealthy from his drug enterprise. So there is definitely a lot of money to go after. But it is not clear if the government will be able to prove the exact dollar amount he has.
Some experts doubt Guzman actually has $14 billion; while the Sinaloa cartel makes a lot, they have many expenditures, such as thousands of people on the payroll; planes, cars and trucks; narco submarines; and cross border smuggling tunnels. There also are significant losses from drug seizures in the millions of dollars every year.
- 6 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in NC for Drug Trafficking Operation. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.foxnews.com/us/6-illegal-immigrants-arrested-in-nc-for-drug-trafficking-operation-officials-say
- Multi National Drug Cartel Investigation Leads to Myrtle Beach. (2019). Retrieved from https://wpde.com/news/local/multi-national-drug-cartel-investigation-leads-to-myrtle-beach
- El Chapo Guzman and His $14 Billion. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/el-chapo-guzman-4-billion-the-us-got-now-it-has-to-get-his-12019-2
- Federal Crimes Lawyer. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.geoffreygnathanlaw.com/criminal-charges/federal-crimes-lawyer/
- Immigration Deportation Lawyer. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.geoffreygnathanlaw.com/criminal-charges/immigration-deportation/
- Drug Narcotics Trafficking Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.geoffreygnathanlaw.com/criminal-charges/drug-narcotics-trafficking/