Federal Charges in Cocaine and Money Laundering Conspiracy Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 03, 2009|
MEMPHIS, TN—Twelve defendants were charged in a federal complaint with various violations relating to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, immigration, and money laundering in an investigation called “Operation Jetta,” announced Lawrence J. Laurenzi, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, My Harrison, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Memphis Division, Christopher Pikelis, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and Mark Luttrell, Sheriff of Shelby County.
Salomon Mondragon, Ricardo Navarrete, Jr., Miguel Ribon, Mario Espinosa, Victoriano Granados, Salomon Bravo Martinez, Julio Hernandez, Alberto Gomez Bastida, Ivan Navarrete, Alejandro Villa, Karina Garza, and Charles Stacker were arrested after FBI Agents in conjunction with Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies executed 14 federal search warrants on January 30-31, 2009 in association with this case. As a result of these searches, investigators discovered approximately $1,000,000, 30 kilograms of cocaine and many firearms. These search warrants concluded a 16 month investigation into this drug trafficking organization. The total seizures in this case exceed $2,000,000 and approximately 50 kilograms of cocaine.
On January 30, 2009 according to the affidavit of complaint, Mondragon and Espinosa were arrested near 8510 Wolf Trace. Approximately $21,300 and seven firearms were seized from the house and Mondragon had approximately $30,000 on his person. The affidavit states that Navarrete, Jr. , Garza, and Hernandez were arrested at 5761 Saranac. Agents found two firearms and seized approximately $20,000 from Saranac. Granados and Martinez were arrested at 698 Vaughn where agents found approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine and $7,600. Ribon was arrested at 7176 Snyder where agents seized approximately $300,000 and a gun. Villa was arrested at 3992 Shinnault where agents found approximately 17 kilograms of cocaine and a firearm. Navarette was arrested at 821 Eastern where they also seized a firearm. The affidavit further states that a search was also conducted at 1048 Wingfield where agents found approximately $500,000.
Other defendants were arrested at various other locations. All the defendants have had an initial appearance in court and are currently in federal custody.
The penalty for the drug conspiracy offense is a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum prison term of life. If a defendant has one prior drug felony conviction, the minimum penalty is 20 years. With two or more prior drug felony convictions, the minimum penalty is life.
This operation stands as a model of interagency and federal/state cooperation. The United States Attorney’s Office extends its admiration to all of these agencies for their superior work.
This case is being prosecuted by Braden H. Boucek, Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. The case was initiated by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Additional assistance was also provided by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.