Twelve individuals have been indicted as members of a Virginia-based international drug trafficking organization that has utilized a distribution network to smuggle cocaine from Mexico to Northern Virginia. This indictment was the latest in an ongoing investigation that has previously led to the conviction of 41 individuals.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ava A. Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)â€™s Washington Division; and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC) of the FBIâ€™s Washington Field Office; made the announcement after the indictment was unsealed.
â€œWeâ€™ve now charged 53 people as a result of this investigation into extensive Mexican-based cocaine trafficking operations in northern Virginia,â€ said U.S. Attorney MacBride. â€œThis alleged ring not only endangers the community through this deadly narcotic, but also puts the lives of their couriers at risk each time they smuggle the cocaine into our community. Weâ€™re committed to pursuing this investigation and to putting this distribution network out of business.â€
According to court documents, the regional leader of the alleged international drug trafficking organization is Gregorio Delgado-Salinas, a/k/a â€œGoyo,â€ 27, of Alexandria, Va., who was arrested on May 25, 2011, along with four of his lieutenants and another co-conspirator. Court documents allege the distribution ring smuggled the cocaine into northern Virginia and delivered the cocaine to Delgado-Salinas or his agents. Delgado-Salinas allegedly received multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine each month from Mexico through numerous couriers.
Court documents allege that following the distribution of narcotics, local members of the network collect drug debts from those who have not paid for the cocaine they received. Members of the conspiracy are accused of wiring drug proceeds to the drug trafficking organization leaders in Mexico, distributing the cocaine, and collecting drug proceeds in northern Virginia.
Each alleged member of the international drug trafficking organization was charged with conspiring to distribute five kilograms or more grams of cocaine, which carries a minimum-mandatory penalty of 10 years in prison and maximum penalty of life in prison. Delgado-Salinas is additionally charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carries a consecutive five-year minimum mandatory penalty.
At an arraignment hearing today, United States District Judge James C. Cacheris scheduled a jury trial for Feb. 7, 2012.
â€œOur local communities are not immune from the poison the Mexican drug cartels bring to the streets of the United States,â€ said DEA SAC Cooper-Davis. â€œThis case illustrates the far reach of the cartels, but it also highlights the hard work that our agents and law enforcement partners do every day to stop them.â€
â€œThis indictment is the result of the concentrated efforts by agents and detectives from the FBI, DEA, ICE, Alexandria Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service who partner together to disrupt and dismantle these alleged international drug networks who threaten our neighborhoods,â€ said FBI ADIC McJunkin.
This case is part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (â€œOCDETFâ€) investigation titled â€œOperation Springfield Snow,â€ which began in November 2008 targeting Virginia-based cells of a cocaine drug trafficking organization based in Mexico. To date, in addition to the 12 subjects recently indicted, 41 individuals have been previously convicted as a result of the investigation.
This particular investigation was jointly led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBIâ€™s Washington Field Office, with assistance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Alexandria Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department, Prince William County Police Department, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Nussbum and Sam Kaplan are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.