December 7, 2022

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Six admit to cocaine trafficking following search

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McALLEN, Texas – Several men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Mexican citizens Jose Bernardo Gonzalez-Gomez, 55, and Jose Santiago Luna-Duran, 45; Arlando Garcia-Garcia, 40, and Martin Vela-Alanis, 58, both legal  permanent residents of Edinburg; and Oscar Obed Manzanares, 21, and Martin Adrusbel Vela, 35, both of Edinburg, pleaded guilty today for their respective roles in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.

On March 22, Manzanares traveled into the United States from Mexico in a GMC truck and parked it at a local business in McAllen. Luna-Duran then took the vehicle to a property in Edinburg.

There, authorities observed individuals exchange items between the GMC and a Ford pickup truck. Garcia-Garcia drove the Ford to a separate residence on a property where Vela and Vela-Alanis resided. Upon his arrival, he removed a large duffel bag from the truck. Gonzalez-Gomez was also present at that time.

Law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence and recovered a duffel bag containing 15 bundles of a white powdery substance. They also found over $90,000 and a black and gold Colt Model 1911 pistol.

Luna-Duran returned to the business where authorities ultimately detained him as well as Manzanares. A search of the GMC vehicle resulted in an additional discovery of over $238,000 in bulk cash.

Laboratory analysis later confirmed the bundles tested positive for cocaine and had a weight of approximately 15 kilograms.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa will impose sentencing Dec. 15. At that time, each conspirator faces up to life in prison and a possible $10 million fine.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Hidalgo, Mission, McAllen, Alton, Pharr and Palmview. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter I. Brostowin is prosecuting the case.

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