The ringleader of a major drug trafficking and money-laundering conspiracy has been sentenced to 121 months in prison. Angel Rubio-Quintana, a foreign national residing in St. George, Utah, was found guilty of distributing large quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana. During a comprehensive investigation called “Operation Sour Cream,” law enforcement agents discovered that Rubio-Quintana orchestrated the importation and distribution of drugs from Mexico. Throughout the operation, agents intercepted phone calls where Rubio-Quintana negotiated drug prices and quantities, and conducted controlled buys to obtain evidence. The case involved thousands of fentanyl pills, kilograms of methamphetamine, and pounds of marijuana, along with wire transfers totaling over $58,000 to Mexican drug suppliers. Rubio-Quintana will also face deportation after serving his prison sentence. This sentencing serves as a warning to other drug traffickers that serious consequences await those who engage in such criminal activities.
In a major drug trafficking and money-laundering conspiracy case, a foreign national named Angel Rubio-Quintana has been sentenced to 121 months in prison. Rubio-Quintana, a resident of St. George, Utah, admitted to distributing large quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana in the area. The investigation into Rubio-Quintana and his organization, known as “Operation Sour Cream,” began in March 2020 when agents discovered that an individual in St. George was receiving methamphetamine from a Mexican cartel. This led to a comprehensive investigation that uncovered the details of the conspiracy and the extent of the drug trafficking and money-laundering activities.
Investigation and Arrest
Agents conducting the investigation discovered Rubio-Quintana’s involvement in the drug trafficking organization through extensive surveillance and monitoring of his activities. The investigation, which lasted from October 2021 to February 2022, involved intercepting over 200 phone calls in which Rubio-Quintana negotiated drug prices and quantities with his Mexican drug suppliers. Additionally, agents conducted at least 13 controlled buys, during which they purchased methamphetamine and fentanyl from members of the conspiracy. The first controlled buy involved the delivery of drugs in a large sour cream bucket.
Details of the Conspiracy
The investigation revealed that Rubio-Quintana played a leadership role in the drug trafficking organization, responsible for importing and distributing drugs from Mexico. The organization was involved in the distribution of thousands of fentanyl pills, 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 45 pounds of marijuana. Furthermore, Rubio-Quintana’s organization sent over 60 wire transfers totaling over $58,000 to Mexican drug suppliers between June 2021 and January 2022. These details demonstrate the scale and scope of the conspiracy and the significant criminal activities undertaken by Rubio-Quintana and his accomplices.
Drug Trafficking Activities
Rubio-Quintana’s organization was primarily focused on the trafficking of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana. The investigation revealed that the organization was responsible for importing large quantities of these dangerous substances from Mexico into St. George and other areas in the Western United States. The distribution of these drugs posed a significant threat to the safety and well-being of the community. The extensive surveillance and controlled buys conducted by the agents provided crucial evidence of the organization’s drug trafficking activities.
In addition to drug trafficking, Rubio-Quintana’s organization was also involved in money laundering. The investigation uncovered over 60 wire transfers sent to Mexican drug suppliers, totaling over $58,000. Money laundering is a common practice in drug trafficking operations as criminals seek to conceal the illegal proceeds generated from their illicit activities. The involvement of money laundering further emphasizes the organized and sophisticated nature of Rubio-Quintana’s drug trafficking conspiracy.
Wire Transfers to Mexican Drug Suppliers
As part of the investigation, agents discovered that Rubio-Quintana’s organization made multiple wire transfers to Mexican drug suppliers. These wire transfers, totaling over $58,000, were sent between June 2021 and January 2022. The wire transfers served as a method for the organization to pay their suppliers and maintain their drug trafficking operations. By tracking these financial transactions, law enforcement was able to gather crucial evidence and build a strong case against Rubio-Quintana and his accomplices.
Controlled Buys and Seizures
During the course of the investigation, agents conducted at least 13 controlled buys, during which they purchased methamphetamine and fentanyl from members of the conspiracy. These controlled buys provided law enforcement with direct evidence of the organization’s drug trafficking activities. In one instance, drugs were delivered in a large sour cream bucket, highlighting the lengths to which the organization went to conceal their illicit activities. The controlled buys, along with seizures of drugs and other evidence, played a crucial role in building a strong case against Rubio-Quintana and his associates.
Forfeiture and Plea Agreement
As part of his plea agreement, Rubio-Quintana has agreed to forfeit $23,666. Forfeiture is a common practice in drug trafficking cases, allowing law enforcement to seize the proceeds of criminal activities. The forfeiture of assets serves as a substantial deterrent and disrupts the financial infrastructure supporting drug trafficking. Rubio-Quintana’s agreement to forfeit a significant amount of money demonstrates his acknowledgment of the consequences of his criminal actions.
Sentencing and Deportation
Rubio-Quintana has been sentenced to 121 months in prison for his involvement in the drug trafficking and money-laundering conspiracy. Following his prison sentence, he will face deportation. The sentencing reflects the seriousness of his crimes and serves as a warning to others involved in drug trafficking. Deportation is an additional consequence that underscores the commitment of law enforcement agencies to remove criminals from our communities.
Law Enforcement Efforts
The successful investigation and prosecution of Angel Rubio-Quintana and his drug trafficking organization are the result of a collaborative effort between various law enforcement agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Washington County Drug Task Force all played integral roles in dismantling the conspiracy and ensuring the safety of the community. Their relentless pursuit of individuals distributing drugs and their commitment to collaborative efforts highlight the dedication of law enforcement agencies to protecting our communities from the dangers posed by drug trafficking.