“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat

A Laredoan has been convicted for his role in a conspiracy to transport large quantities of marijuana for the Cartel Del Noreste, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday evening.

Joe David, 34, also known as JD Moreno, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Moreno faces up to life in federal prison and possible $10 million maximum fine. He will remain in custody pending sentencing.

A total of 22 people in South Texas and Mexico have pleaded guilty for their roles in this conspiracy. Authorities seized 35,000 pounds of marijuana, about 17.5 tons, valued at about $16.4 million.

“Moreno admitted to purchasing a utility truck used to transport numerous loads of marijuana throughout Laredo. He coordinated several narcotic smuggling transactions, paid co-conspirators for their involvement and reported directly to cartel leaders in Mexico,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Authorities said the complex conspiracy began in February 2019 and continued through April 2020. Moreno was arrested on March 25, 2022, in Monterrey, Mexico.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Laredo Police Department conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; Border Patrol; Customs and Border Protection; FBI; Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. National Guard; Webb County District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Constable’s Office Precincts 1 and 4; Texas Department of Public Safety; and the Blue Indigo Task Force.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer Day and Francisco Rodriguez are prosecuting this case.

Laredo Morning Times