CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Six Rio Grande Valley men have been arrested for their involvement in a major drug trafficking ring that shipped marijuana from South Texas.
Jesus Gregorio Lopez, 63, of Mission was taken into custody, while Flavio Tamez, 47, and Jesus Marroquin, 49, both of Rio Grande City; Alejandro Garza, 42, Roberto Garza, 40, both of Mission, and Adrian De la Garza, 41, of Sullivan City were arrested Thursday.
Lopez was held without bond at a hearing Friday afternoon in Corpus Christi. De la Garza appeared in Houston Thursday afternoon, Alejandro Garza appeared in Lubbock Friday and the remaining defendants made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Peter Ormsby in McAllen on Friday. All were ordered to remain in custody pending further criminal proceedings.
The defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana, for which they all face at least 10 years and up to life in prison.
Alejandro and Roberto Garza are also charged with possession with the intent to distribute 503 kilograms of marijuana, which carries a penalty of an additional 5-40 years imprisonment.
Marroquin faces up to 30 years in prison upon conviction of loan fraud. That charge stems from an allegation that he made a false statement regarding his income for the purpose of obtaining a loan with State Farm Insurance Bank, an FDIC insured bank.
Also included in the indictment is a notice to Tamez and Lopez of the government’s intent to criminally forfeit three pieces of real property located in Starr and Brooks Counties and intent to seek personal money judgments in the amount of $500,000 against Alejandro and Roberto Garza and Tamez.
During the arrests in this case, agents also executed four separate search warrants in Rio Grande City and Mission at which time several pieces of jewelry were seized as well as a vehicle that allegedly had drug residue as well as a hidden compartment.
A search warrant was executed at a South Texas bank for the contents of a safety deposit box, which contained more than $213,000 in United States currency and various pieces of jewelry. The government will seek forfeiture of the currency and the jewelry as well.