“Socalj” for Borderland Beat
In May 2020, Manuel García Gómez and Jorge Humberto Velazco, who were processing liquid methamphetamine from Mexico in drug laboratories in Texas, were arrested. The group, under the direction of Jose Valdovinos Jimenez, a plaza boss who goes by “La Roca,” laundered many of the drug profits through a Dallas clothing store named Yoli’s Western Wear to the sum of $10 million. The operation had been going for at least five years and was sending the drug money back to Mexico in thousands of small remittance transactions.
Just a few days after the arrest of the CJNG members, the DEA agent responsible for their arrest appeared to testify before the court. He was identified simply as “TH.” It was because of his testimony that the judge denied Manuel García bail. He and Velazco were then held at the Johnson County Detention Center. The DEA agent first testified against Jorge and would again in the trial against Manuel.
Plot to Kill DEA Agent “TH”
According to court documents, Manuel García Gómez began to discuss killing the DEA agent just two days after his testimony before the judge. He told another person at the jail that he wanted to “get rid” of the DEA agent. assigned to his case and offered $20,000 to carry out the murder, prosecutors said. In his first telephone calls from jail, García discussed with a man – whose name was not revealed – the possibility that he would help him hire someone to assassinate the DEA agent. Another phone call with someone outside the jail confirmed García Gómez’s intent.
As usual, their calls were monitored through the Global Tel Link company, which manages the communications system for inmates at Johnson. The defendant, according to the prosecution, called his sister Eva and his girlfriend, Juárez Martínez, to deliver the money for the murder of the DEA agent. Velazco Larios would also contribute money for the payment.
On June 8, Jorge Humberto spoke with someone named “Roberto”, who confirmed that Eva, Manuel’s sister, would take the money to set up the murder.
Two days later, Manuel called his girlfriend in Mexico, Alicia Yuritzi Juarez. He had $2,000 and asked her to contribute another thousand. Alice accepted.
On June 11, 2020, an unindicted co-conspirator, identified by the court only as “Roberto,” made a payment of $3,000 and five days later, provided $2,000 as part of the initial payment to effect the murder. These payments were made in the name of García y Velazco.
On June 15 of that year, also in telephone calls, Manuel confirmed that his sister and her girlfriend had photographs and documents to identify the DEA agent who was to be assassinated. He claimed they were “tough” and “not afraid” to get involved in the murder. “You can speak openly because they know everything that is happening,” García assured.
Shortly after, Eva Gómez received a photo of a DEA person, “TH” via WhatsApp. The next day she showed the image through a video call with her brother from jail. The image that appeared on the screen was that of a gray-haired man, in his 50s.
“Yeah, that’s him,” Gomez told her brother.
“We are already finding out the name of the right person,” she would say in one of the calls.
It was not until that time that Manuel finally began to suspect that he might be being monitored; He told his girlfriend that he was uncomfortable saying the name of the DEA agent over the phone: “You have to kill the one who testified in court against Jorge Humberto Velazco Larios,” he said.
One day after these calls, the person who identified himself as Roberto delivered a second payment of $2,000 for the murder: “I’m coming back from doing that shit,” he would tell his contact, Jorge Humberto.
In July 2020, the conspiracy was brought down with an indictment against those in jail and their outside facilitators. The pair ended up pleading guilty in 2022 to conspiring to use interstate commerce to commit murder-for-hire. Initially, they had plead not guilty following their arrests.
“The defendants wanted to harm a DEA agent and that is unacceptable,” FBI Special Agent Matthew DeSarno said in the same statement. “Fortunately, we have prevented a dangerous act from occurring and have apprehended a group of violent criminals.
|Yoli’s Western Wear helped launder the money from meth sales.|
Texas Meth & Money Laundering
The cartel’s drug route began by smuggling large quantities of liquid methamphetamine across the border hidden in tires.
Once inside the United States, the liquid methamphetamine was recrystallized at drug labs in ordinary houses in various Texas neighborhoods that were protected by cells with separate arsenals.
|106 Margaret Lane (shown here in June 2022).|
Manuel García Gómez operated one of those drug laboratories from a beige house, in a wooded area addressed as 106 Margaret Lane, Ferris, Texas. Hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine were manufactured and distributed from there alone.
Jorge Humberto Velazco Larios, who, once the methamphetamine was divided into small quantities, sold it to mid- and high-level drug traffickers for resale on the streets.
After selling the methamphetamine, the CJNG plaza boss “La Roca” then laundered the money through a clothing company called Yoli’s Western Wear, and its alleged income was transferred to Mexico with the supervision of the manager, Ivan Noe Valerio.
Valerio, with the support of relatives such as his mother, Yolanda Mercado, his father, Teodoro Valerio Pérez, or his sister Tris Yaneli Valerio, operated an international remittance system used to send money to family members in Mexico. They put through 11,000 small transactions of less than $1,000 each.
During the course of the investigation, agents seized some 700 kilograms of methamphetamine, 80 kilograms of heroin, and $500,000.
Conspiracy & Drug Charge Sentences
Manuel García pleaded guilty just on February 6, 2022, for conspiracy to murder the DEA agent. On September 16, 2022, he received a sentence of 10 years in prison, a sentence that runs simultaneously with that of his convictions for operating the drug laboratory, which amounted to 18 years.
His accomplice Jorge Humberto, he received a sentence of 16 years in prison for charges related to drug trafficking and 10 more years for conspiracy to assassinate the DEA agent.
In a court document, the Department of Justice reveals that Eva Denisse García Gómez and Alicia Yuritzi Juárez Martínez, the women who coordinated the murder of the DEA agent from outside the prison, have not been arrested and are likely still fugitives in Mexico.
Sources Milenio, Laura Sanchez, DOJ, Borderland Beat, Dallas News