DOJ: Mexican National Allegedly Led ‘Significant Drug-Trafficking Organization’ in U.S.

By CNSNews.com Staff | February 21, 2018 | 9:54 AM EST

This shipment of methamphetamine, which had been hidden in a shipment of commercial candles, was confiscated by Customs and Border Protection at the Laredo, Texas, port of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Justice Department says that a Mexican national allegedly led what it calls a “significant drug trafficking organization” inside the United States.

In an indictment filed last July, according to Justice, the 34-year-old Mexican national, Jose Raul Mendivil-Berrelleza, was charged in New Mexico along with seven others for trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine.

“The indictment was the result of a multi-agency investigation into a significant drug trafficking organization allegedly led by Jose Raul Mendivil-Berrelleza, 34, a Mexican national who resided in Hobbs, [N.M.] that allegedly imported methamphetamine and cocaine into Lea County from Mexico through Arizona,” the department said in a statement released yesterday.

“The 20-count indictment charged alleged ringleader Mendivil-Berrelleza and seven co-defendants with conspiracy, methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking, and money laundering offenses,” said the Justice Department. 

“Count 1 of the indictment charged all eight defendants with participating in a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and cocaine in Lea County and elsewhere between Nov. 2016 and July 2017,” the department said. “Count 2 charged Mendivil-Berrelleza and Roberto Rendon-Duran, 70, of Yuma, Ariz., with participating in an international money-laundering conspiracy.  Counts 3 through 5 charged certain defendants with methamphetamine trafficking offenses and Count 6 charges certain defendants with a cocaine trafficking offense.  Counts 7 through 20 charged certain defendants with using communications devices to facilitate their drug trafficking activity.”

One of the defendants in the case, Jeremy W. Gough, was sentenced on Tuesday to 120 months in prison.

“On Dec. 13, 2017, Gough pled guilty to conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute,” said the Department of Justice. “ In entering the guilty plea, Gough admitted that from Nov. 2016 through June 2017, he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine in Hobbs by having methamphetamine delivered to Gough’s residence from his source of supply, which Gough would then deliver to other individuals in Hobbs through the use of couriers.”

Here is the full statement on the case released by the Department of Justice on Tuesday:

Hobbs Man Sentenced to Ten Years for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction

ALBUQUERQUE – Jeremy W. Gough, 41, of Hobbs, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction.

Gough and seven other residents of Lea County, N.M., including four Mexican nationals, and a resident of Yuma, Ariz., were charged in a 20-count indictment filed in July 2017, alleging federal drug trafficking and money laundering offenses.  The indictment was the result of a multi-agency investigation into a significant drug trafficking organization allegedly led by Jose Raul Mendivil-Berrelleza, 34, a Mexican national who resided in Hobbs, that allegedly imported methamphetamine and cocaine into Lea County from Mexico through Arizona. 

The  investigation, which was led by the DEA and included HSI and the Lea County Drug Task Force of HIDTA Region 6, was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, a Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.  During the course of the investigation, law enforcement authorities seized approximately 13 kilograms (28.6 pounds) of pure methamphetamine and 1.45 kilograms (3.2 pounds) of cocaine, a firearm and $19,000 in cash.

The 20-count indictment charged alleged ringleader Mendivil-Berrelleza and seven co-defendants with conspiracy, methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking, and money laundering offenses.  Count 1 of the indictment charged all eight defendants with participating in a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and cocaine in Lea County and elsewhere between Nov. 2016 and July 2017.  Count 2 charged Mendivil-Berrelleza and Roberto Rendon-Duran, 70, of Yuma, Ariz., with participating in an international money-laundering conspiracy.  Counts 3 through 5 charged certain defendants with methamphetamine trafficking offenses and Count 6 charges certain defendants with a cocaine trafficking offense.  Counts 7 through 20 charged certain defendants with using communications devices to facilitate their drug trafficking activity.

On Dec. 13, 2017, Gough pled guilty to conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  In entering the guilty plea, Gough admitted that from Nov. 2016 through June 2017, he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine in Hobbs by having methamphetamine delivered to Gough’s residence from his source of supply, which Gough would then deliver to other individuals in Hobbs through the use of couriers.  Gough further admitted that on Nov. 5, 2016, he possessed approximately 152 grams of methamphetamine which he intended to sell to other individuals in Hobbs.

Four of Gough’s co-defendants have previously entered guilty pleas and are pending sentencing hearings.  Two co-defendants have entered pleas of not guilty and are pending trial.  Miguel Angel Luna-Arredondo has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.  Charges in indictments and criminal complaints are only accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the DEA and HSI offices in Las Cruces and the Lea County Drug Task Force with assistance from the Lea County Sheriff’s Office and the Hobbs Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terri J. Abernathy and Dustin Segovia of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.

The Lea County Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Lea County Sheriff’s Office, Hobbs Police Department, Lovington Police Department, Eunice Police Department the Tatum Police Department and the Jal Police Department, and is part of the NM HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.

 

 


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