ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CBSDC) — Authorities announced they have disrupted a major cocaine trafficking ring based in Northern Virginia.
28 people were arrested for their roles in a ring that used couriers to import large amounts of cocaine from Honduras. The drugs were hidden in shoes and decorative wooden frames.
Authorities say members of the drug ring have allegedly wired more than $1 million from the United States back to cocaine suppliers in Central America.
The ring operated from 2006 until earlier this month. Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI say a contingent of Honduran immigrants living in the Fairfax County area coordinated with sources of drug suppliers in Honduras to pay couriers to fly the drugs into the United States.
In an effort to hide the drugs, much of the couriers’ baggage consisted of legal items such as clothing and food. The drugs were hidden inside innocuous items such as wooden frames and shoes.
The cocaine was then distributed to dealers in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Massachusetts, who then wired the money from the drug sales back to Honduras.
Investigators discovered the ring in the fall of 2011 when Lindor Delis Martinez-Guevara, a 38-year-old from Falls Church, and Melcy Yalexsy Guevara-Barrera, a 35-year-old from Vienna, were arrested by Fairfax County police.
Court documents state Martinez-Guevara was the person who came up with the idea of how to hide the cocaine.
Also arrested in the case were:
- Samuel Benitez-Pineda, aka Wilfredo Benitez or Roque or Chiripa, 34, of Arlington
- Jose Fredy Delcid, aka Oscar Salgado or Oscar or Franklin or Chami or Matador, 34, of Falls Church
- Hector Mauricio Amaya, aka Conejo or Kaubil, 36, of Falls Church
- Genis Jhesson Amaya-Pena, aka Jenis Yexon Amaya-Pena or Flaco or Juanchope, 25, of Vienna
- Marvin Eduardo Escobar Barrios, aka Catracho or Garrobo, 37, of West Falls Church
- Wilson Reniery Guevara, aka Wilsson R. Guevara, 34, of Manassas
- Joel Lopez, 41, of Springfield
- Annelo Argueta Reyes, aka Nelo, 35, of Falls Church
- Mario Noel Medina-Aguilar, aka Noel, 28, of Falls Church
- Julio Giovanni Nolasco, aka Puma, 18, of Falls Church
- Concepcion Benitez-Pineda, aka Conchi or Concha, 38, of Arlington
- Mario Benitez-Pineda, aka Chaparro or Cuzuco, 42, of Falls Church
- Santos Efrain Carbajal Benites, 24, of Arlington
- Angel Zelaya Lizama, aka El Diablo, 29, of Falls Church
- Jose Delores Vanegas, aka Chivito, 40, of Arlington
- Isaias Abrego-Mancia, 28, of Herndon
- Rudy Humberto Tabaro, aka Rudy Humberto Tabara or Colocho, 30, of Lutherville
- Edwin Espana Morales, 38, of Riverdale
- Jose Lorenzo Saravia, aka Jose Saravia-Lozano, 40, of Manassas
- FNU LNU, aka Alex or Gordito, of Falls Church
- Maria Florinda Benitez-Pineda, aka Flor or Loli, 26, of Baltimore
- Jose Maria Benites-Pineda, 32, of Arlington
- Jose Enrique Funez, aka Jose Enrique Funz-Garay or Jose Enrique Funes-Garay or Rick, 40, of Norfolk
- Martin Juarez-Lopez, 19, of Falls Church
- Gloria Elena Olivia Castro, 25, of Springfield
- Joaquin Avila-Rodriguez, aka Pollo, 40, of Herndon
All of people named have been charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, which carries a minimum mandatory of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
The complaint affidavit also contains allegations that members of the drug ring distributed crack cocaine and participated in money laundering and committed various firearm offenses.