Three-year ETX drug trafficking investigation yields nine arrest - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Three-year ETX drug trafficking investigation yields nine arrests Wednesday

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According to U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, ten individuals are in custody after a lengthy drug trafficking investigation.

Bales says that on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, a combined task force made up of federal, state, and local enforcement agencies began executing federal arrest warrants for defendants indicted following a three-year investigation into a meth and cocaine distribution operation in the Marshall, Texas, area.

Three separate indictments were returned by a federal grand jury on October 3, 2012, charging twelve people with federal drug and firearms violations. Nine of those people were arrested today and one was found to already be in state custody.

The defendants (all residents of Marshall) are scheduled to appear this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy Payne:

Apolinar Carbajal Abelardo, aka, La Cartera, 40;

Santiago Carbajal Abelardo, aka, Chiquies, 25;

Jehovani Abelardo, 20;

Santos Acuna, 23;

Rigoberto Aguirre-Valle, aka, Rigo, 35;

Karin Cardenas, aka, Quequi, 20;

Joeli Higuera Fernandez, 28;

Melicio Nunez-Duque, 44;

Julia Flores Saucedo, aka, Julia Bernal, 32; and

Oscar Diaz-Mendoza, 34.

During today's arrests, law enforcement officers also seized 14 firearms, a pound and a half of methamphetamine, two ounces of powder cocaine, $8,600 in cash, and four vehicles.

The District Attorney's office said that "

According to the first indictment, beginning in 2009, Apolinar Abelardo, Santiago

Abelardo, Jehovani Abelardo, and Santos Acuna, conspired with others to import

methamphetamine and cocaine into Northeast Texas for distribution in the Marshall area. The

defendants are all charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of

cocaine and methamphetamine, two counts of possession with intent to distribute and

distribution of cocaine, four counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of

methamphetamine, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking

crime."

"According to the second indictment, beginning in 2010, Rigoberto Aguirre-Valle, Karin

Cardenas, and Joeli Fernandez conspired to deliver methamphetamine from Mexico to Northeast

Texas for distribution in the Marshall area. The defendants are charged with conspiracy to

possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and 8 counts of possession with intent to

distribute and distribution of methamphetamine."

"According to the third indictment, beginning in 2011, Melicio Nunez-Duque, Julia

Saucedo, and Oscar Diaz-Mendoza conspired to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine

in Marshall and Karnack, Texas. They are all charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to

distribute methamphetamine and four counts of possession with intent to distribute and

distribution of methamphetamine."

If convicted of the drug conspiracy charges, the defendants will face a minimum of ten years to life in federal prison.

If convicted of the drug possession charges, the defendants face up to twenty years in federal penitentiary.

If convicted of weapons violations, the defendants face at least five and up to forty years in federal prison. They also risk forfeiture of any property used to commit or assist in committing the crimes, or derived from proceeds of the conspiracy.

These indictments are the result of a "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area" (HIDTA) East Texas Drug Task Force investigation.

The cases are being investigated by the FBI, Marshall PD, and Texas DPS, along with the Harrison County Sheriff's Office and Harrison County District Attorney's office, as well as Homeland Security Investigations -Deportation and Removal Operations; also, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Longview PD, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

This case is being  prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst.

The DA reminds, "A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court of law."

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