Wednesday, December 18, 2019

11 Indicted in Drug Trafficking Ring Case: Including 4 Tucson, Arizona UPS Employees

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: AZFam / Azag.gov.press

11 indicted in Tucson drug smuggling bust involving UPS employees. See Arizona Attorney 
General's Indictment next page.

Eleven people have been indicted in a drug trafficking ring involving four UPS employees, according to a news release from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

The defendants, who were arrested in November, are accused of shipping illegal drugs and more than 50,000 counterfeit THC vape pens across the country, according to authorities.

Taken together, they face 48 felony charges, including money laundering, transportation of marijuana for sale, transportation of narcotic drugs for sale, misconduct involving weapons, and illegally conducting an enterprise, the release said. It was not immediately clear whether the defendants had an attorney. 

The charges are the result of an investigation that began in 2017, when special agents learned that UPS employees were allegedly using closed business accounts to ship packages through the UPS distribution network, the release said.

"Specifically, between November 2018 and June 2019, undercover officers shipped and received packages, supposedly containing illegal drugs and illegal drug proceeds, by routing them through the shipment center in Tucson," the release said.

During the execution of two search warrants, authorities seized at least $10,000, as well as several high-end vehicles, including Corvettes, Range Rovers and Ford Raptors, Tucson police Sgt. Wally Kaderly said. It is estimated that more than 50,000 vape pens were seized, although a majority of them were not filled with THC extract, according to Kaderly.

"Because of their positions in UPS, they had knowledge in some of the vulnerabilities in their infrastructure that allowed them to traffic these drugs undetected internally by UPS and externally by law enforcement," Kaderly said.

Authorities suspect those arrested were involved with trafficking other narcotics, Kaderly said.

"UPS is aware of the law enforcement actions involving employees. We cooperate fully with law enforcement professionals and will continue to provide information as needed," company spokesman Matthew O'Connor told CNN after the arrests last month.

A group of United Parcel Service employees allegedly helped to import and traffic massive amounts of drugs and counterfeit vaping oils from Mexico during the past decade, part of a scheme that exploited a vulnerability in the company’s distribution system, according to police.

The lucrative operation at times involved moving thousands of pounds of marijuana and narcotics each week from narco-traffickers into the United States to destinations across the country, using standard cardboard boxes that were carefully routed through the private mail carrier’s trucking and delivery systems, authorities said. The cash the operation generated was used to buy opulent homes, vacations, properties and luxury vehicles, detectives said.

Four UPS employees have been charged with drug trafficking in state court, and court records show that at least 11 people — including two UPS supervisors and drivers — have been arrested in the past two weeks on a slew of state charges stemming from the decade-long investigation by a task force of local, state and federal law enforcement.

Investigators from the Counter Narcotics Alliance said accused ringleader Mario Barcelo — a 20-year UPS employee and dispatch supervisor — used a simple method to obscure the origin and destination of drug shipments, a tactic they worry could be replicated by other UPS employees and other drug-trafficking organizations.

Authorities said Barcelo, 49, used his position as a supervisor in the Tucson distribution facility to ensure known drug shipments were loaded onto the correct trucks and were delivered on time to their destinations without any interference or drug interdiction, bypassing security measures the employees knew well.

Attempts to reach Barcelo were unsuccessful and it is unclear if Barcelo has a lawyer, as none was listed on publicly available court records in the case.

Tucson-area law enforcement had been tracking Barcelo since at least 2009, but Tucson Police Sgt. William Kaderly said detectives were frustrated for years that the company did not work more “proactively” with them to intercept and prevent the suspected criminal behavior. Barcelo was arrested on Nov. 13.
TUCSON – Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a State Grand Jury indicted 11 individuals accused of shipping illegal drugs and contraband across the country through the United Parcel Service (UPS). Collectively the defendants face 48 felony counts, including Money Laundering, Transportation of Marijuana for Sale, Transportation of Narcotic Drugs for Sale, Misconduct Involving Weapons, and Illegally Conducting an Enterprise.  These charges stem from a multiyear investigation involving the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Tucson Police Department (TPD) officers who are part of the Counter Narcotics Alliance (CNA).

The investigation began in 2017 when HSI special agents and TPD officers discovered that UPS employees in the Tucson area were allegedly using the UPS distribution network to ship illegal drugs and other contraband. UPS employees Mario Arvisu Barcelo, Michael Anthony Castro, Gary Lamont Love, Thomas Alfred Mendoza, along with their non-employee associates, Victor Manuel Alexander Molina, Martin Octavio Siqueiros-Diaz, and Jonathan Sanchez Gallegos, were reportedly able to ship packages undetected across the country by using closed business accounts. Specifically, between November 2018 and June 2019, undercover officers shipped and received packages, supposedly containing illegal drugs and illegal drug proceeds, by routing them through the shipment center in Tucson.

As alleged in the indictment, in May 2019, law enforcement officers learned that marijuana had been shipped from Tucson, intended for delivery at a North Carolina destination.  HSI agents interdicted the package in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the shipment purportedly contained 12.6 pounds of marijuana.

As part of their investigation, officers identified Abraham Felix-Navarro, Fernando Navarro-Figueroa, Raul Garcia Cordova, and Heriberto Martinez-Bojorquez as allegedly being involved in the manufacture and the sale of thousands of counterfeit THC vape pens.

In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating an outbreak of lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes, or vaping, products.  The CDC discovered that vape pens containing counterfeit THC were most commonly associated with lung injuries.  As a result, the CDC recommends people should not use THC-containing e-cigarettes, or vaping products, particularly from informal sources like friends, family, or online dealers. More information.

Mario Arvisu Barcelo, 49 ( UPS)
Assistant Attorney General Nanette Morrow is prosecuting this case.  It was investigated by law enforcement offices from HSI and TPD assigned to CNA.

The names of the defendants indicted and their charges are listed below. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

-10 Counts of Attempted Transport for Sale or Import into this State or Offer to Transport for Sale or Import into this State, Sell Transfer or Offer to Sell or Transfer of Cocaine
-13 Counts of Money Laundering in the Second Degree
-1 Count of Transportation for Sale or Import into this State or Offer to Transport for Sale or Import into this State, Sell Transfer or Offer to Sell or Transfer of Marijuana
-1 Count of Use of a Wire Communication or Electronic         Communication in a Drug Related Transaction
                                                                       -1 Count of Conspiracy
                                                                    -1 Count of Illegally Conducting an Enterprise

  Raul Garcia Cordova, 47  ( a ring leader)

-1 Count of Transport for Sale or Import into this State or Offer to Transport for Sale or Import into this State, Sell Transfer or Offer to Sell or Transfer of a Narcotic Drug
-2 Counts of Possession of a Narcotic Drug of Sale
-2 Counts of Manufacture of a Narcotic Drug
-2 Counts of Possession of Marijuana for Sale
-4 Counts of Money Laundering in the Second Degree
-2 Counts of Possession of Equipment or Chemicals, or Both, for the Purpose of Manufacturing a Narcotic Drug
-1 Count of Misconduct Involving Weapons During the Commission of a Felony
-1 Count of Misconduct Involving Weapons by a Prohibited Possessor
-1 Count of Conspiracy
-1 Count of Illegally Conducting an Enterprise


For Photos, Identities and Charges of all other defendants use this link:     AZag,gov.press 
See our original Post about this takedown HERE 


10 comments:

  1. Wow felony charges, big time in the slammer, now this is a prime example for Mexico to learn from this...all names of suspects put in, also photos without thier faces covered and the good thing AZ does is put a gray pillow case over thier chest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Holy mackerel! These criminals can kiss thier azz goodbye... looking at 20+ years.

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  3. They were selling counterfeit THC pens that were killing innocent people. I hope these greedy lacras get life in prison.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no evidence that their THC pens killed anyone.

      Delete
  4. It’s Tucson not tuscon. Just saying

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  5. They were living the rich life, until they got caught.

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  6. Screw the feds and local police, For them its ok to infiltrate the postal system becuase they where fustrated they couldnt bust them back then so they make deals to send "marked" packages with contraband to be shipped. thats trickery and dirty

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  7. Feds took Rauls 2million dollar house and cars

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So Raul has $2,000,000 in real estate and luxury cars working at UPS? No red flags there...ūü§£

      Delete

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