McALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Several men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced this week.
Mexican citizens Jose Bernardo Gonzalez-Gomez, 55, and Jose Santiago Luna-Duran, 45; Arlando Garcia-Garcia, 40, and Martin Vela-Alanis, 58, both legal permanent residents of Edinburg; and Oscar Obed Manzanares, 21, and Martin Adrusbel Vela, 35, both of Edinburg, pleaded guilty Wednesday for their respective roles in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas.
Each conspirator faces up to life in prison and a possible $10 million fine.
On March 22, Manzanares traveled into the United States from Mexico in a GMC truck and parked it at a local business in McAllen. Luna-Duran then took the vehicle to a property in Edinburg, the USAO stated in the release.
There, authorities saw people moving items between the GMC and a Ford pickup. Garcia-Garcia drove the Ford to a separate residence on a property where Vela and Vela-Alanis lived. Upon his arrival, he removed a large duffel bag from the truck, the USAO stated.
Gonzalez-Gomez was also present at that time, the USAO stated.
With a search warrant, law enforcement recovered a duffel bag filled with 15 bundles of a white powdery substance. They also found more than $90,000 and a black and gold Colt Model 1911 pistol, authorities said.
Luna-Duran returned to the business, where authorities detained him and Manzanares.
A search of the GMC uncovered more than $238,000 in cash, the USAO stated.
Laboratory analysis later confirmed the bundles tested positive for cocaine and had a weight of approximately 15 kilograms, according to authorities.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa will impose sentencing Dec. 15.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the help of Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Hidalgo, Mission, McAllen, Alton, Pharr and Palmview.