U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of Texas
Northern District of Texas
For Immediate Release
July 2, 2014
Sarah R. Saldaña, United States Attorney
Contact: Kathy Colvin
Final Guilty Plea Entered in Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy With Ties to Lubbock and Odessa, Texas
LUBBOCK, Texas — The last of eight defendants charged with various offenses in a cocaine distribution conspiracy that operated in Mexico and in Lubbock, Borger and Odessa, Texas, pleaded guilty today, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Efren Fabela Lopez, 34, of Odessa, pleaded guilty today, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy M. Koenig, to one count of possession of cocaine and aiding and abetting. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of one year in federal prison and a $1,000 fine.
This investigation, led by the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), resulted in the seizure of 30 pounds of cocaine in Lubbock and Odessa that had been brought in from Mexico, 10 firearms and nearly $200,000 in cash in Borger.
Each of the four below-listed defendants pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Each faces a statutory penalty of not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a $10 million fine.
Martin Cardona Gutierrez, 46, of Odessa
Javier Lopez Lujan, 47, of Borger
Refugio Navarrete Gutierrez, 34, of Mexico
Manuel Carillo Ortiz, 38, of Mexico
Defendant, Israel Velasco, 35, of Odessa, pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine. He faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.
Defendant, Jerardo Salcedo Garcia, 27, of Odessa, pleaded guilty last month to possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He, too, faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.
Defendant Ismael Velasco, 35, of Odessa, pleaded guilty last month to one count of unlawful use of a communication facility. He faces a statutory maximum penalty of four years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment was dismissed against Gisselle Lujan, 26.
Judge Cummings ordered presentence investigation reports on all the convicted defendants with sentencing dates to be set after the completion of those reports.
The Ector County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration assisted the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and ATF in the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Cunningham is prosecuting the case.