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Cartel boss, 27 others charged in $10 million drug scheme involving Dallas western-wear store

Federal authorities have charged a Mexican cartel boss known as "The Rock" along with 27 co-conspirators in a $10 million money-laundering scheme run through a Dallas western-wear retailer. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Federal authorities have charged a Mexican cartel boss known as “The Rock” along with 27 co-conspirators in a $10 million money-laundering scheme run through a Dallas western-wear retailer.

Court documents allege that Jose Valdovinos Jimenez, a territory boss called “La Roca,” conspired with his codefendants to smuggle vast amounts of methamphetamine and heroin for sale into the U.S., where the proceeds were laundered and transferred back to leaders of the Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel, or CJNG.

According to Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, the cartel is one of Mexico’s most powerful and violent drug operations.

“Drug cartels like CJNG wreak havoc across the globe,” Cox said. “We’re committed to tracking the money and disrupting these organizations by attacking their bottom line.”

In a 38-count superseding indictment unsealed Friday, a federal grand jury charged the 28 individuals with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments – as well as other financial, drug, and gun crimes, including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute heroin, and possession of a firearm by an undocumented person.

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The documents say CJNG’s sophisticated trafficking ring included drug-smuggling couriers, fortified stash houses, a multi-level dealer network and recrystallization labs where drugs were purified before sale.

At Jimenez’s direction, authorities say, mid- and upper-level dealers took drug profits to Yoli’s Western Wear, a clothing retailer in the Pleasant Grove area. There, 23-year-old manager Ivan Noe Valerio and family members counted and separated the money into thousands of transactions transferred back to CJNG in Mexico.

Jimenez and Valerio face life in federal prison if convicted. Others charged include Valerio’s parents and sister as well as numerous individuals allegedly involved in dealing drugs, staffing labs and stash houses, and transferring funds.

Cox said agents seized about 700 kilos of meth, 80 kilos of heroin and approximately $500,000 in drug money in the course of the investigation. The investigation was conducted by the Dallas division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Texas Department of Public Security, the U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with the help of the Midlothian Police Department and the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.

“Addiction to drugs has many different faces,” said Eduardo Chavez, special agent in charge of the DEA’s Dallas office. “In this instance, the addiction to money and greed has met its consequence.”

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©2020 The Dallas Morning News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.