Miguel Montemayor was one of five men who pleaded guilty to transporting or selling specific loads of narcotics to Ricardo Guerrero, 55, of Mathis.
Guerrero was sentenced to life in a federal prison for conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, conspiracy to launder money and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
A federal jury in Corpus Christi returned a conviction in the case against Guerrero after an eight-day trial in Corpus Christi.
Jurors deliberated two hours on March 18 before returning with their verdict.
The life sentence was handed down by Senior U.S. District Judge Hayden Head. He had presided over the trial.
Montemayor entered his guilty plea along with Wayne Dedow, 49, of Mathis and Douglas Massey, 34, Ricky Bazaldua, 37, and Ramon Alonzo Gonzalez, 45, all of Corpus Christi.
Another defendant named in the case included Jesus Borja-Borja, 26, of Edinburg. He pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. He was considered to be Guerrero’s main supplier of narcotics.
Elena Barrera, 36, of Mathis and Frank Coronado, 30, of Brownsville were convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Krystan Rios, 23, Eddie Hernandez, 32, Victor Arocha, 54, Sulema Vasquez, 50, Jada Gregg Warren, 30, and Daniel Sosa, 44, all of San Antonio, entered guilty pleas to their roles in transporting or selling loads of narcotics for Guerrero.
Others who pleaded guilty to roles in transporting and selling narcotics for Guerrero included Carlos Molina, 71, and Roberto Contreras, 57, both of Robstown, Richard Pacheco, 42, of Karnes City, Lee Roy Tanguma, 38, of Beeville, Benjamin Hernandez, 38, of Sandia and Emmanuel Pabon Lugo, 37, and Amalia Dimas, 36, both of Corpus Christi.
The 21 defendants accused of being involved with Guerrero’s enterprise were given prison sentences ranging from 18 to 180 months.
The charges and prosecutions were a result of a long-term investigation conducted jointly by Homeland Security Investigations and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Assistant United States Attorney Chad W. Cowan was named as prosecutor.
The court heard testimony from 52 witnesses and also heard information about the arrests of the 21 other conspirators who had been working for Guerrero in the drug trafficking and money laundering operations. All 21 of those defendants entered guilty pleas.
Guerrero was determined to be the leader of the operations between 2009 and his arrest on Sept. 26, 2013. The government alleged that the conspiracy resulted in trafficking methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.
During the two-year investigation, agents seized more than six kilograms of methamphetamine, five kilograms of heroin and six kilograms of cocaine. Investigators alleged that the conspirators moved the drugs across the border from Mexico once or twice a month and crossed the border at Brownsville, McAllen and Laredo. The drugs were stored on numerous properties Guerrero owned in Mathis and neighboring counties and were sold to sources throughout South Texas and as far north as Houston and San Antonio.
The money laundering charges involved concealing cash that Guerrero made from his drug business, mainly through cattle and vehicle auctions.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.