Published on September 2nd, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Alleged El Paso Trafficking Ringleader Detained Pending Trial
36-year-old Manuel Gerardo Velasquez (aka “Shorty”), an El Paso cell ringleader for the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes drug trafficking organization, will remain in federal custody pending trial for allegedly operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE). The enterprise is responsible for the smuggling and distribution of more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The drug proceeds were returned to Mexico. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit.
Velasquez waived his right to a detention hearing originally scheduled for today in United States Magistrate Court in El Paso. A 13-count federal grand jury indictment returned on August 7, 2013, charges Velasquez and others with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
The indictment alleges that from January 1997 until the present, the defendants conspired to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana throughout Texas, Oklahoma and into Kansas. In addition to the drug conspiracy charge, Velasquez is charged with one count of operating a continual criminal enterprise, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, eight counts of aiding and abetting the intentional possession of marijuana; and, two counts of maintaining a drug involved premise.
The indictment also seeks the criminal forfeiture of proceeds derived from the criminal scheme including cash and eight real estate properties in El Paso; Afton, OK; and, Grove, OK. During this investigation, authorities have seized some 3,800 pounds of marijuana and approximately $10,000 in U.S. Currency.
“The numerous arrests and seizures that occurred in this investigation have severely disrupted the operations of this drug trafficking organization. In El Paso and all across our region, DEA and our partners are determined to continue to identify drug traffickers, shut down their operations and bring them to justice,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, El Paso Division. Velasquez faces between 20 years and life in federal prison upon conviction of the CCE charge.
Source: justice.gov “Alleged El Paso Trafficking Ringleader Detained Pending Trial,” September 2, 2013.