DEA: Gulf Cartel member used roosters and pit bulls to smuggle drugs - Brownsville Herald: Valley

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DEA: Gulf Cartel member used roosters and pit bulls to smuggle drugs

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Posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 12:00 am

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced the sentencing of a man convicted of running a major drug distribution network that ran from Brownsville through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida and was affiliated with the Gulf Cartel.

Pedro Mendez Ramos, 41 of Church Point, La., was sentenced to 12 and a half years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi on the charges of continuing a criminal enterprise and money laundering conspiracy.

Ramos had been previously convicted after pleading guilty to the charges. Ramos and 17 others were originally named in a 12-count indictment from 2005.

According to court records, Ramos was supplied large quantities of cocaine and marijuana from the Gulf Cartel in Matamoros, which his associates smuggled and moved through his distribution network using tractor trailers and trucks with hidden compartments, as well as gamecock cages with false bottoms.

Ramos, who would organize pit bull and rooster fights, is said to have used the blood sports as a networking tool for his organization, DEA records show.

The profits from the sale of narcotics were laundered through the purchase of various real state properties throughout the Rio Grande Valley, Louisiana, and some in Palm Beach, Fla.

According to the agency, authorities seized more than 245 pounds of cocaine and $1.8 million from Ramos as well as more than 300 roosters and more than 60 pit bulls. Authorities also seized more than $1 million in real state.

According to the indictment, the seized properties in Brownsville include a lot on the 5400 block of Boca Chica Boulevard, one lot on El Lago Street, a house on the 800 block of Milpa Verde, a property on the 1100 block of Paredes Line Road, as well as three properties in San Benito and several others in Hidalgo County

“The coordinated efforts of this investigation not only exposed and dismantled a sophisticated drug trafficking organization, it also helped cease the brutality and unspeakable cruelty of animals at the hands of inhumane individuals,” Jimmy Fox, a special agent in charge with the DEA.

The case was investigated by the DEA, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office and the Louisiana State Police.

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