In El Paso, a federal grand jury indicted two individuals for possessing approximately 512 pounds of liquid methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Britton Boyd.
The indictment, returned this week, charges 38-year-old El Paso resident Juan Francisco Padilla and 41-year-old Jamie Cuaron Garcia, a Mexican citizen living in El Paso, with one count of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute and one substantive count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
Court documents allege that on October 15, 2020, El Paso Police stopped a vehicle being driven by Padilla for a traffic violation. After obtaining consent to search the vehicle, officers discovered ten plastic containers filled with liquid methamphetamine and approximately $37,700 in U.S. Currency inside his vehicle. During a subsequent search of Padilla’s residence, authorities seized suspected drug distribution proceeds amounting to $2,000 in U.S. Currency and two firearms. Further investigation revealed that Cuaron assisted Padilla in the distribution of methamphetamine. The indictment further alleges that the defendants have been involved with their distribution scheme since September 2020.
Upon conviction, Padilla faces between 15 years and life in federal prison due to a previous felony drug conviction; Garcia, between ten years and life in federal prison. Both remain in federal custody at this time.
Members of the FBI’s Transnational Organized Crime Taskforce (TOC) are investigating this case. The TOC includes agents and investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the El Paso Police Department.
“Methamphetamine or ‘meth’ is poison. It destroys lives and leads to nothing but tragedy and suffering. Those who profit from peddling this poison must be held accountable. I want to thank the FBI’s Transnational Organized Crime Taskforce for working to protect the El Paso community and for taking an enormous quantity of meth off of our streets,” stated U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer.
“These arrests and seizures show the FBI’s resolve to target transnational criminal organizations bringing liquid methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs into the El Paso area,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Britton Boyd. “Our Transnational Organized Crime Taskforce was able to keep these dangerous drugs out of our communities and deny approximately 1.8 million dollars in illicit proceeds from a dangerous criminal organization.”
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.