Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tucson, Arizona: UPS Employees Ran Drug Trafficking Ring for a Decade

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Fox y KGUN9
                        UPS employees ran drug trafficking ring for a decade, authorities say:
A group of United Parcel Service (UPS) employees are accused of smuggling shipments of drugs and counterfeit vaping oils from Mexico and distributing the illicit products around the U.S. for at least a decade.

Authorities arrested 11 people, including four UPS drivers and supervisors, in Tucson, Ariz., for their roles in the alleged smuggling ring, the Department of Homeland Security said. Investigators say the suspects moved thousands of pounds of marijuana and other drugs into the U.S. from Mexico each week using the company's standard cardboard boxes, bypassing security measures.


Raul Garcia Cordova, 47, faces more than a dozen charges. A police raid at his home turned up 50,000 counterfeit vaping pens, a Chevrolet Corvette and a Range Rover. Court docs allege drug trafficking conspiracy after the multimillion-dollar home raided.

Raul Garcia Cordova, 47, was arrested after Homeland Security Investigations agents executed a search warrant at his home near the intersection of Moore Road and Como Drive Thursday. Investigators say their search turned up marijuana, vape pens, equipment to make vape pens, drug ledgers and plenty of cash. Cordova is jailed unless he can post a bond of $250,000 cash.

KGUN 9 was there when agents hauled away multiple vehicles including SUVs, pickup trucks, a sports car, a trailer and a motorboat.

The Arizona man was arrested and the multi-million-dollar home raided in HSI money laundering, drug investigation: Real estate listings advertise a $2.4 million price tag for the home, and property records show it was sold for $1.6 million in the past few years.

Cordova, who is a U.S. citizen, made his initial court appearance Thursday night. His attorney told the judge his client does have two prior felonies on drug charges, though they date back about 15 years. Arguing for a high bond, a prosecutor noted Cordova's prior felonies prohibit him from having any firearms but multiple guns were found at the house.

The complaint against homeowner Raul Garcia Cordova says he bankrolled an operation that used UPS to ship vape pens that dispense THC, the psycho-active ingredient in marijuana. He's now facing 13 charges, including drug manufacturing, money laundering and weapons violations.

A decal on one of the trailer hauled away at the scene advertises "Sonora Dark Horn Adventures." According to its website, the company offers guided hunts on 100,000 acres of land it controls Mexico, specializing in bighorn sheep and deer. Public records list Cordova as the company's owner.

Mario Barcelo, a 20-year UPS employee and dispatch supervisor -- was named as the alleged ringleader of the operation. In a news release, the federal authorities said officials learned of the operation in 2017. Barcelo was arrested on Nov. 13.

Prosecutors said Barcelo, 49, used his position in the Tucson UPS distribution facility to ensure the drug shipments were loaded to the correct trucks and delivered to the intended destinations. Authorities in Tucson had been investigating Barcelo since 2009, The Washington Post reported.

However, they became frustrated when UPS would not cooperate with them to intercept and prevent potential crimes. They cited a 2017 incident in which they were prevented from entering the Tucson facility after learning of an illicit shipment.

In a statement to Fox News, UPS said it is cooperating with law enforcement but is “not at liberty to discuss the details of the arrests as this is an ongoing investigation.”

Aside from Barcelo, UPS supervisor Gary Love and drivers Michael Castro and Thomas Mendoza are charged with money laundering, drug possession and drug distribution. Seven others are facing charges on shipping drugs and operating stash houses.

Detectives describe 32-year-old Fernando Navarro-Figueroa as being in charge of the stash house where some of the illegal items were stored, and in charge of multiple members of the drug trafficking organization.
Navarro will need to post $75,000 in cash to bond out.

Prosecutors said Barcelo and the alleged suspects expand their operation from delivering marijuana to more lucrative drugs and black-market vaping pens.

Undercover officers posing as drug traffickers contacted Barcelo to ship a fake shipment of cocaine in 2018 and 2019. Trackers were placed inside boxes containing the products to documents its movement and the phones of UPS employees were tapped.

Police also obtained video footage of the group coordinating the operations.

26 comments:

  1. I have followed this story a little, and haven't been able to discern whether they were charged locally or federally?

    The mugshots are from the County, but the article indicated Homeland Security, and a complaint, which isn't exclusively a federal term

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    1. If Homeland Security is involved it is definitely Federal.

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  2. Reading the Washington Post article, the Arizona Attorney General's Office is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by federal, local, state authorities.

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  3. As I was working on this Post I came upon the unexpected detail that Cordova also operates an Outfitting business advertising private hunts and hunting grounds in Sonora, which includes the endangered Borrego Cimarron, ie Desert Bighorn.
    FYI: Big game hunters pay MUCHO DINERO, ie tens of thousands of dollars for one permiso, permit , ie to take down a full curl ram. Mexico has begun allowing permits for these hunts under the guise of saving them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Usually the Outfitters are required to hire locals to establish and keep up their "main camp" with cooks etc. and also local guides for spike camps and outlooks. In my years of personal experience I can tell you that usually the hunters are eating bighorn meat "at camp'' as the locals often poach more than the ONE RAM there is a permit for. I have personally seen the last of local herds be completely decimated or leave their home ranges in a search for self preservation.
    Yes, there are yearly helicopter census taken ( further disturbing the ultimate symbol of the Sonoran Desert mountain ranges) to determine how many permits may be issued in a given year. Like everything else in Mexico, sad to say, this is often corrupted too, since the Ejidos that host the hunts stand to make one hell of a lot of money that usually goes down the pockets of the top hierarchy and never trickles down to the ejido members. Doesn't help that ejido members can now SELL the Ejido memberships often leading to , ahem, wealthy out of towners, ie ex politicos, business men and yes, rich Narco criminals being the Ejido leaders in power.
    There is ONE repopulation effort that I am aware of which is on Isla del Carmen. There are no natural predators on that huge island ( mtn lions, etc)and there is fresh water. Thus they have exported adults of breeding age over there in a fairly successful attempt at establishing a breeding program. However, plenty of poaching goes on there also. I have a photo somewhere of 4 wildlife "officials" caught red handed with poached bighorn off the Isla and loading into a panga!
    Isla Carmen is or was OWNED by non other than Raul Salinas, crooked brother of ex President Salinas. How can one person OWN an island in the Loreto Marine National Park and Preserve, I ask you? Thankfully, Isla Espiritu Santo was declared a National Park with much work, devotion and perseverance by my late, great amigo Tim Means, who devoted his life to the conservation of and the establishment of Biosfera Reserva areas both marine and terrestrial in an effort to save dwindling species such as the Borrego Cimarron, pronghorn sheep, and his beloved whales and their now protected breeding lagoons. DEP, Señor Means.

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    1. Seconded...RIP Timothy Means,we need more like him in this hard to stomach world

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    2. He was my comrade for 35 years.......oh, the stories I could tell.
      He is irreplaceable but he was a mentor to so many.....his legends will survive in a "storytelling " tradition. His son will continue in his footsteps as will the organizations he founded.
      There are several excellent pieces published after his death , esp a NYTs one , if you have not read them. Paz mano

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    3. If you need a visual description, Google: Sonora Dark Horn Adventures
      Made me want to throw up........and I have seen too many of these "outfits" in action.

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    4. Yaqui what cartel do you root for ??


      El ondeado🤪

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    5. Yaqui, do not forget to mention that gun dealers also make big bucks from supplying the sport hunters, there should be permits to hunt them and their enablers, and big prizes for the worst offenders, shot, people would love to hunt them even if they get to fire back to keep shit interesting, no bone spurs allowed...

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    6. HaHa......good one 10:42

      However: @ 8:28..........R U Joking ? I am the antithesis of any Cartel rooting.

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  4. Major crimes, looking at big time in the slammers.

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  5. Yaqui are those big horn in the Rumorosa mountains? It's a shame that anything that brings in money in mexico is all exchanged for the almighty peso and dollar crazy how corruption runs so deep in mexico even if it takes a species to go extinct

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    1. I hear humans are next at becoming e the extinct in Mexico

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    2. This is what's happening with the fish bladder poaching resulting in all sea life being killed by the big nets.

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    3. Sorry, folks.....I really didn't mean to right a book there.
      AND NO, I doubt seriously if their are any Desert Bighorn left in that area, although there should be.
      To be clear I am NOT anti-gun or anti-hunting for that matter , but going after the last of the trophy anything makes me sick, not to mention poaching them. AND YES, that is exactly what the Totoaba Bladder poaching is all about.
      SEE: Sea of Shadows........it is finally out, the movie , ie.

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    4. 8:08 Be anti-hunting and anti-gun, and more important, be anti-corruption and don't be a pusy about it, after all the illegal abusers work under cover of legality while their legal congenerates look the other way not to infringe on the criminals' rights,

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    5. @10:47 I am not anti-gun nor anti-hunting , YES, anti corruption.
      I do follow the ethic of "you kill it you eat it" and that is sometimes opportunistic or mercy kills. Opportunistic = Eat the quail that slam into my windows ; Mercy kill = Slit the throat of a doe with a pocket knife cause she had her head stuck in an old orchard fence, no time to go get the gun. I do not go stalking. Beans will do.

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  6. UPS driver with a multi million dollar home, vette, and range rover. Just cannot keep it on the down low. Idiot.

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    1. 4:13 Amazon, got famous for transporting shit too, and FedEx and others,
      like the health care industries where all the money goes to private insurers' pockets from where they privatize the money and little gets out for services to the jnsured who better keep present their deductibles and other fees and copays and other covered options.
      Leaving the US Mail in the dust would not have been easy without drug trafficking, plain and simple...

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  7. The U.S. doesnt mess around those drug dealers will spend so much time in prison theyll want to take their own life

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    1. ADX Florence awaits... Chapo needs company

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  8. I didnt expect to see anglo names in this scenario

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    1. In America they type in full first and last names, also the picture is not blocked, MEXICO is another helpless story.

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  9. How Ironic, soon the US JSOC and CIA will be conducting special "hunts" as well. Can't wait to see who comes home with Chapito's head as a Trophy.

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    1. Chapitos are the sons of Senor Guzman not one person jaja

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