U.S. Attorney's office details cocaine conspiracy

Pawhuska Journal-Capital

TULSA – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and local, state and federal task force partners arrested nine individuals last week alleged to have been part of a drug trafficking organization that transported bulk quantities of cocaine from Mexico into the Northern District of Oklahoma for redistribution, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.

Those arrested along with two others were named in an indictment that was unsealed Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 1 as defendants began making initial appearances in federal court. The defendants were charged with drug conspiracy, specifically possessing with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine starting as early as January 2020, and other crimes associated with the conspiracy.

“This organization is estimated to have transported and sold more than 10 kilograms of cocaine a month in Oklahoma,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Ten different law enforcement agencies joined forces to investigate and take down this alleged drug trafficking organization. I appreciate their commitment to protecting our communities from the effects of the illicit drug trade.”

“Dismantling criminal organizations such as this one cannot be successful without DEA Tulsa’s partnership with the law enforcement and citizenry of Oklahoma,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, Special Agent in Charge of DEA operations in Oklahoma. “These individuals are being held responsible for their actions. Whether it is a gram or a kilogram, cocaine is not produced in Tulsa, and DEA Tulsa will never cease its efforts to rid these drugs from our streets.”

According to the indictment, an unknown defendant called “Chuy” led the drug trafficking organization from Mexico. Chuy directed shipments of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from Mexico to Oklahoma and ensured the drug proceeds were sent back to Mexico. He coordinated with alleged Tulsa-based distributor and money launderer Manuel Gustavo Cardenas-Lozoya who sold bulk quantities of cocaine to mid-level dealers in Tulsa for redistribution. The two would then coordinate the transport of sizeable drug profits from Tulsa back to Mexico. Chuy remains at large. Cardenas-Lozoya was arrested Thursday in Atlanta.

At Chuy’s direction, Alexis Perez-Camacho and Juan Luis Lopez-Carreon transported the cocaine from Oklahoma City to Tulsa so it could be distributed by Cardenas-Lozoya and mid-level dealers. Perez-Camacho also stored cocaine and drug proceeds at his residence.

Danahe Cervantes, Cardenas-Lozoya’s girlfriend, helped facilitate the drug sales by acting as a translator.

Mid-level dealers who purchased the cocaine from Cardenas-Lozoya for redistribution in Oklahoma were Reinaldo Gustavo Martinez, Miguel Angel Gabino-Trujillo, Christopher Holdman, and Yovani Soto.

Aren Yoana Lopez-Gomez and Audrina Denis Lopez-Gomez helped Cardenas-Lozoya laundered money and assisted him in his distribution efforts.

The conspirators used Messenger and cells phones to allegedly discuss the amount of cocaine, price and payment arrangements, distribution times and locations, settling debts owed, and money laundering.

The arrests and indictment are part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation titled Operation Snow Hunter.

The Drug Enforcement Administration led the operation with assistance from the Tulsa Police Department, Broken Arrow Police Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Delaware County District Attorney’s Office, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Miami Police Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Colorado Police Department.