ORLANDO, Fla. – Eight individuals with ties to a drug trafficking organization were arrested in central Florida yesterday after a multi-agency investigation, which included U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
According to court documents, the suspects acted in a conspiracy that transported thousands of pounds of marijuana from McAllen, Texas, to northern and central Florida. The members of this drug-trafficking organization allegedly coordinated the transportation of the narcotics proceeds from Florida to Texas for the Gulf Cartel in Mexico.
As part of the investigation, special agents and officers executed search warrants across central and northern Florida and southern Texas in conjunction with this case. They seized more than 6,000 pounds of marijuana, more than 90 firearms and $989,891 in Florida as part of this joint investigative effort.
Jaime Rodriguez Sandoval, 41; Ivan Alvarado, 31; Josue Rivera Rosario, 26; Jesus Gonzalez-Salcedo, 37; Antonio Gonzalez, 51; Jose Luis Franco-Gonzalez, 35; Cesar Ramos, 36; and Omar Martinez, 37; made their initial appearances in federal court Tuesday. Each individual is charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. If convicted, they each face a minimum penalty of 10 years and up to life in federal prison.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by HSI, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Apopka Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.