LAREDO–Eight members of a drug trafficking gang from McAllen were sentenced to 15 to 30 years in federal prison without parole in a Laredo courtroom.
The eight men were part of a drug trafficking and money laundering led by Arturo Molina and were involved with this operation from 2004 to 2009.
Molina, 40, of McAllen, Humberto Ontiveros, 42, of Pharr, Texas, and Genaro Torres Ozuna, 42, Liandro Gutierrez Jr., 38, Aaron Olabarrieta, 49, Miguel Angel Pina Jr., 33, German Perez Rincon Jr., 40, and Raul Zambrano, 43, all residences of various cities and towns in the Rio Grande Valley were involving with this operation.
A two-year operation led by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation into a drug trafficking and money laundering organization determined Molina was in charge and was based out of McAllen. Ontiveros worked directly for Molina and also supervised other members of the group.
The members used tractor-trailers to ship large quantities of cocaine and marijuana from the McAllen area to various locations in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. The organization hired commercial truck drivers to transport the drugs, which were placed in trailers containing loads of legitimate merchandise.
After the drivers delivered the drugs, they picked up large amounts of cash — the proceeds from the drug sales — and transported the cash to the Rio Grande Valley.
The investigation ultimately led to the conviction of Molina and 11 others as well as the seizure of more than 200 kilograms of cocaine, 2000 kilograms of marijuana and the seizure and forfeiture of nearly $5 million in United States currency.
Molina and Ontiveros, the leaders of the conspiracies, were sentenced to 300 and 360 months in prison, respectively. The other six defendants sentenced this week worked for Molina and Ontiveros as drivers of the tractor trailers and were sentenced to long prison terms.
–South Texas Tribune, firstname.lastname@example.org