Crime

Big cartel bust in El Paso! Wife thought drug lord husband was a GOOD hombre!

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Fourteen people were arrested connected to the Orrantia drug trafficking organization in El Paso, Texas. Federal officials say they’re a direct link to the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico.

At a news conference Thursday, federal officials told of the arrests of the suspected leader of the organization, Mario Armando Orrantia, 51, also known as “Quezada,” and his right-hand man, Carmen Alfredo Marquez-Castillo, 63, also known as “Viejo” and “Viejito.” Twelve others were also arrested including:

  • Angela Leon, aka “Menona”
  • Humberto Aleman-Lima, aka “Paquetes”
  • Eduardo Rubalcaba
  • Hugo Arturo Faudoa
  • Jerry Minsu Flowers
  • Pedro Jimenez
  • Erik Mendoza
  • Rosalinda Gallegos
  • Bryan Ramirez-Guerrero
  • Joshua Angel Talamantes, aka “Pirata”
  • Jerry Lewis
  • Jose Reyes Valdez, aka “Paco,” “Gordo” and “Gordito.”

Federal documents show all of those arrested live in El Paso, except Reyes Valdez, who lives in Cincinnati.

The 14 suspects are accused of money laundering and smuggling hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana between March 2015 and July from Mexico into the United States. Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Leachman says members of the Orrantia organization transported the drugs to other locations within the U.S. including Ohio and South Carolina.

The investigation started back in June 2015 when special agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) received information there was a drug trafficking organization operating in El Paso with ties to the Sinaloa cartel. Will Glaspy was named the special agent in charge of the DEA’s El Paso Division.

Glaspy said the traffickers were using the bars “El Tres Mentiras” and “T’Kila” to launder the drug money. Both are near the El Paso International Airport. Glaspy saying:

“This was a way for them to launder their drug proceeds and also was used as a place for members of the criminal organization to gather.”

Glaspy says Orrantia and Marquez-Castillo were able to pass themselves off as legitimate businessmen who worked in El Paso saying:

“When we conducted a federal search warrant at one of the defendant’s houses, his wife expressed amazement that we were there because, after all, her husband was just a businessman.”

Glaspy says since 2015, authorities in their investigation have seized:

  • 7 vehicles
  • More than $147,000 in cash
  • 590 kilograms of marijuana
  • 14 kilograms of cocaine
  • 21 kilograms of heroin
  • 17 kilograms of methamphetamine

The 14 defendants remain in federal custody pending their hearings expected next week. Authorities say some of the individuals are still fugitives, but would not identify them because of their leads as to their whereabouts.

Other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies helped in the investigation and in the arrests.

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