Detectives probe possible Norco drug connection
If convicted, the men could face a term of imprisonment for a minimum of 10 years to life, a fine of $4 million and five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment for each count.
“The dope was destined for Houston, so it’s very puzzling, why the suspects came into Norco, and then tried to take the drugs, into Houston,” said Micheal Sanders, public information officer for the DEA in New Orleans. “The suspects were caught enroute on their way to Houston,” Sanders said.
Sanders said investigators are still trying to determine whether or not their may have been a St. Charles Parish connection involved in the drug transaction.
“However we don’t see a connection at this point,” Sanders said.
“Why didn’t they go straight into the port of Houston? It would seem to us as investigators that it would lessen the risk of getting caught.” he continued.
According to court documents, law enforcement agents stopped six men in St. Martin Parish in possession of three bags containing a total of 83 kilograms of cocaine.
The cocaine had been sent by a Colombian drug trafficking organization via a petroleum vessel which arrived in Norco, Louisiana the night of June 13. Two stowaways and the cocaine were concealed inside the rudder housing of the vessel. They unloaded the drugs from the vessel and joined with the other traffickers.
The stowaways and the other men attempted to take the cocaine to Houston, Texas. While in route to Houston, the six defendants were stopped by agents and arrested with the cocaine.
Named in the indictment are John Martinez, 54, also known as “Eudipepe Benavides-Martinez”, and Jose Antonio Riveria Echevarria, Fortunato Albornoz, 35, Carlos Santiago-Caparros, 32, also known as Roberto Carlos-Sanc Medina, and Eduardo Enrique Riascos-Zamora, Jabier Colon, 34 also known as Jose Tomas Martinez, and Javier Colon, Javier Rentera, 27, also known as Javier Renteria, Joe Pabon, 27, also known as Joe Pabon Vallencilla, and Willian Angulo-Torres, 36, also known as Joey Guzman, were charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 83 kilograms of cocaine.
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