U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of Oklahoma
110 West Seventh Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119
For Immediate Release
August 3, 2009
Thomas Scott Woodward, Acting United States Attorney
Contact: Randal Edgmon
Fifteen Defendants Sentenced in Mexican Drug Connection Case
Acting U.S. Attorney Thomas Scott Woodward announced that the last defendant in a major narcotics smuggling ring was sentenced in federal court in Tulsa today. Holly Jill Rodrigues-Munoz, 30, of Wann, Oklahoma is the fifteenth defendant to be sentenced in the last 60 days in one of the biggest drug trafficking busts in northeastern Oklahoma.
The organization brought large amounts of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine from sources in Mexico, across the U.S. border and into the local area. Drug traffickers Jose Saenz and Moises Gaeta, of Juarez, Mexico, provided the drugs to brothers Manuel and Mario Bonilla, who used family members and acquaintances in the Tulsa area to transport, store, distribute the drugs and launder the money. The fifteen individuals, sentenced over the past two months, received penalties ranging up to 27 years in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Six of the defendants were each ordered to pay a $1.5 million money judgement.
- Moises Gaeta, 26, of Mexico, 324 months BOP + 5 yrs superv + $1.5 million
- Jose Luis Saenz, 37, of Mexico, 293 months BOP + 5 yrs superv + $1.5 million
- Manuel Bonilla, 37, of Mexico, fugitive-wanted
- Mario Bonilla, 24, of Tulsa, 108 months BOP + 5 yrs superv + $1.5 million
- Holly Rodrigues-Munoz, 30, of Wann, Ok., 46 months BOP + 5 yr super + $1.5 m
- Cecilia Lorena Bonilla, age 21, of Tulsa, 3 yrs probation supervision
- Michelle Moreno, age 28, of Tulsa, 3 yrs probation supervision
- Francisca Bonilla-Holguin, age 64, of Mexico, 63 months BOP + 3 yrs super
- Jose Silos, age 49, of Mexico, 61 months BOP + 5 yrs supervision
- Selene Soto, age 32, of Odessa, Texas, 3 yrs probation supervision
- Omar Cruz, age 28, of Mexico, wanted, remains a fugitive
- Felix McVay, age 52, of Haskell, Ok., 120 months BOP + 5 yrs super + $1.5 mil
- Victor Olilvas-Poras, 37, of KC, Mo., 240 months BOP + 5 yrs super + $1.5 mil
- Estela Bonilla, age 39, address unk, 18 months BOP + 3 yrs supervision
- Miguel Chavez, 42, of Ft. Worth, Tx. 12 months BOP + 5 yrs superv
The investigation that led to this Indictment spanned over two and one-half years and was dubbed Operation Icepack. The Indictment, unsealed on March 31, 2008, alleged that from about March 2001 until March 2008, the Bonilla family drug trafficking organization, headed by Manuel Bonilla and his brother, Mario Bonilla, of Juarez, Mexico, contacted and arranged for sources of supply in Mexico, mainly through Juarez-based drug trafficker, Jose Saenz, for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. They allegedly orchestrated the transportation of the drugs across the border into the United States, primarily through the El Paso, Texas, area, from where they were ultimately brought into the Tulsa area and Kansas City, where the organization maintained locations for storing, manufacturing, distributing and selling the drugs. The total amount of drugs involved is believed to be excess of 10,000 kilos of marijuana, 50 kilos of cocaine, and 50 kilos of methamphetamine.
The defendants used various communication methods including cellular phones to conduct and carry out their operations and firearms to protect their drug shipments and cash profits. Also, they smuggled firearms from the United States into Mexico in sophisticated hidden compartments.
Acting U.S. Attorney Woodward praised the work of law enforcement in this matter. The following agencies utilized multiple investigative techniques, including court authorized wiretaps, in uncovering this major drug trafficking organization.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
- Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division
- Bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Tulsa Police Department
U.S. Attorney’s Office based Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen J. Litchfield led the prosecution efforts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Depew of the Asset Forfeiture Division handled the seizure and forfeiture.