LAREDO, Texas – Four Laredoans have been ordered to prison
for their roles in a conspiracy to traffic drugs from Laredo to the Dallas area
via the use of tractor trailers, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Javier Mota-Villanueva, 34, Armando Javier Picazo Jimenez, 43, Armando Eloy
Gutierrez, 38, and Leopoldo Rodriguez III, 26, each had previously pleaded
guilty for their respective roles.
Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña ordered
Mota-Villanueva to serve a total of 120 months in federal prison to be immediately
followed by five years of supervised release. The other three were sentenced
last month. Picazo Jimenez and Gutierrez each received 120 months in prison,
while Rodriguez was sentenced to a 24-month term of imprisonment.
Picazo Jimenez led a drug trafficking organization
responsible for the transportation and distribution of multi-kilogram
quantities of marijuana from Laredo to the Dallas area. Picazo Jimenez used his
ties to the Nuevo Laredo source of supply to illegally import the bulk marijuana
from Mexico into the US via Laredo. He recruited the co-conspirators to assist
in storing and transporting the marijuana from Laredo to the Dallas area.
Gutierrez was in charge of finding warehouses for the
organization to use and then soliciting shipping companies to transport
trailers with marijuana and cover with loads of merchandise. Gutierrez also
acted as a scout by following drivers transporting the drug loads through
Border Patrol checkpoints. After passing the checkpoints, Gutierrez would drive
to the Dallas area to assist in receiving and unloading the drugs.
Mota-Villanueva worked in the organization’s warehouses,
where he wrapped the marijuana, moved pallets and loaded the drugs onto
Rodriguez was tasked with wrapping marijuana and assisting
with loading of narcotics onto trailers at the organization’s warehouses.
The investigation revealed three warehouses in Laredo that
the organization used at different periods from on or about September 2013 to
on or about July 31, 2014. They were located on the 1800 block of Aduanales,
the 200 block of Corpus Christi Street and the 1600 block of West Calton.
During the investigation, law enforcement agents seized three loads of
marijuana with a combined weight of more than 1600 kilograms originating from
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the
investigation with the assistance of task force members from the Webb County
District Attorney’s Office and the Laredo Police Department. Assistant U.S.
Attorneys Mary Lou Castillo and Mike Eaton are prosecuting the case.