In a significant development, three members of a drug trafficking organization have pleaded guilty to charges of importing and distributing narcotics. The defendants, Angel Adan Valenzuela, Benjamin Soto Jr., and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno, were involved in transporting narcotics from Mexico to the United States through the port of entry in Nogales. They would then distribute the drugs to various cities across the country. The three individuals have admitted their involvement in a two-count indictment, which includes conspiracy to import and distribute significant quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and other controlled substances. Their sentencing is scheduled for November, with a minimum of 10 years in prison facing each defendant. This successful prosecution marks a significant blow to drug trafficking operations and highlights the ongoing efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat illegal drug trade.
The recent announcement from the Department of Justice (DOJ) highlights the guilty pleas of three members of a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization (DTO) who were involved in the importing and distributing of narcotics. This significant development in the fight against drug trafficking sheds light on the efforts of law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks. In this article, we will delve into the details of this case, including the background information, the individuals involved, and the impact of their guilty pleas.
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News Article Content
Title: Three Members of Drug Trafficking Organization Plead Guilty to Importing and Distributing Narcotics
Date: Monday, July 3, 2023
In a significant development, three members of a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization (DTO) have pleaded guilty to charges related to importing and distributing narcotics. The guilty pleas were made by Angel Adan Valenzuela, Benjamin Soto Jr., and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno, who were involved in routinely transporting narcotics from Mexico and distributing them across the United States. This article will delve into the background information, the details of their involvement, and the impact of their guilty pleas.
According to court documents, the three individuals, Angel Adan Valenzuela, Benjamin Soto Jr., and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno, worked with others to transport narcotics from Mexico through the port of entry in Nogales, Arizona. From January 2020 to April 2022, they operated a network that facilitated the illegal importation and distribution of narcotics across the United States. Valenzuela and other couriers would move the narcotics to a shipping facility in Nogales, prepare the packages for shipment, and distribute them to various cities across the country.
All three individuals have pleaded guilty to charges outlined in a two-count indictment. They have admitted to conspiring to import and distribute significant quantities of controlled substances, including cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and Ritalin. The guilty pleas represent a significant breakthrough in dismantling the drug trafficking organization and ensuring accountability for their illegal activities.
Details of Involvement:
Angel Adan Valenzuela, also known as a narco-junior, played a crucial role in facilitating the transportation and distribution of narcotics. He coordinated the movement of narcotics across the border from Mexico into the United States and oversaw the logistics of the operation. Benjamin Soto Jr. and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno, who were employed at a commercial shipping company in Nogales, aided in the distribution process by accepting narcotics-laden packages from couriers and mailing them fraudulently using existing business accounts.
Seizure of Narcotics:
Law enforcement agents identified and intercepted 21 packages between September 2021 and November 2021, resulting in the seizure of more than 30 kilograms of methamphetamine, 20 kilograms of cocaine, seven kilograms of fentanyl, and four kilograms of heroin. These seizures represent a significant disruption to the drug trafficking organization’s operations and highlight the effectiveness of interagency collaboration in combating illicit drug distribution.
Indictment and Charges:
The three individuals were indicted on charges of conspiring to import and distribute controlled substances, specifically five kilograms or more of cocaine, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and 400 grams or more of fentanyl, as well as Ritalin. The indictment reflects the seriousness of their involvement in illegal drug trafficking and underscores the efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat this significant public threat.
Benjamin Soto Jr. and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno are scheduled to be sentenced on November 15, while Angel Adan Valenzuela is set to be sentenced on November 16. Each individual faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison on each count, which reflects the severity of their criminal actions and the consequences they must face as a result.
Announcement and Investigation:
The announcement of the guilty pleas was made by Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge David G. Nanz of the FBI Springfield Field Office. The case was investigated by the FBI Springfield Field Office with substantial assistance from Homeland Security Investigations – Arizona and the FBI Tucson Field Office. This collaborative effort showcases the dedication and commitment of law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that threaten public safety.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Douglas Meisel, Mingda Hang, Kate Naseef, and Samantha Thompson of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. These highly skilled prosecutors bring ample experience and expertise in handling complex drug trafficking cases, ensuring that justice is served and accountability is upheld.
The guilty pleas of Angel Adan Valenzuela, Benjamin Soto Jr., and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno represent a significant milestone in the fight against drug trafficking. Their involvement in a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization has been exposed, and they have admitted to importing and distributing significant quantities of controlled substances across the United States. The successful investigation and prosecution of these individuals demonstrate the relentless efforts of law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks.
Impact of Guilty Pleas:
The guilty pleas carry substantial consequences for the three individuals involved. With each facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison on each count, their convictions send a powerful message that illegal drug trafficking will not go unpunished. The disruption caused to the drug trafficking organization’s operations, along with the seizure of a substantial quantity of narcotics, has significantly curtailed their ability to harm communities and profit from their criminal activities.
Acknowledgment and Assistance:
The Department of Justice acknowledges the contributions of the various law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and apprehension of these individuals. The collaborative efforts of the FBI Springfield Field Office, Homeland Security Investigations – Arizona, and the FBI Tucson Field Office highlight the importance of interagency cooperation in combating drug trafficking and maintaining public safety.
The FBI Springfield Field Office, in coordination with Homeland Security Investigations – Arizona and the FBI Tucson Field Office, played a crucial role in identifying, investigating, and apprehending the individuals involved in this drug trafficking operation. Their dedication, expertise, and tireless efforts have led to this significant breakthrough and serve as a testament to the commitment of law enforcement agencies in protecting communities from the harmful effects of illicit drugs.
The successful prosecution of Angel Adan Valenzuela, Benjamin Soto Jr., and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno was made possible through the diligent work of Trial Attorneys Douglas Meisel, Mingda Hang, Kate Naseef, and Samantha Thompson of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section. Their expertise in handling complex drug trafficking cases ensures that justice is served and sets an example for others who may consider engaging in similar illegal activities.
In conclusion, the guilty pleas of these three individuals represent a significant victory in the ongoing battle against drug trafficking. This case exemplifies the commitment of the Department of Justice and its partner agencies in dismantling criminal networks, disrupting illicit drug distribution, and ensuring accountability for those involved in this illegal trade. The efforts of law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and investigative teams demonstrate the unwavering commitment to safeguarding public safety and upholding the rule of law.