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Contraband
08/28/2008

Wanted: Local drug trafficker with ties to Joaquin 'Chapo' Guzman

ICE seeks leader of a drug-trafficking group that smuggled cocaine, marijuana through El Paso

Jose Jaime Arroyos-Carrillo
Jose Jaime Arroyos-Carrillo

EL PASO, Texas - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents are seeking a top leader of a large cell of the Joaquin 'Chapo' Guzman drug-trafficking network that smuggled multi-ton shipments of cocaine and marijuana through here.

Jose Jaime Arroyos-Carrillo, 51, a convicted drug dealer, and two of his associates are believed to have worked for Guzman, Mexico's top drug kingpin and head of the Sinaloa Cartel. They are named in a 29-count indictment that an El Paso federal grand jury handed up in November 2006.

All three were indicted on the following charges: conspiracy to import a controlled substance, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, importing a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and bulk cash smuggling.

Arroyos-Carrillo may currently be in hiding in Chihuahua, Mexico. His associates, Isidro Gomez-Arpero and Juan Samaniego were arrested in 2006 in Mexico, and extradited to the United States last year. On Aug. 14, 2008, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced one of the masterminds of the organization, Gomez-Arpero, to 230 months (more than 19 years) in federal prison, and Juan Samaniego to 210 months (17½ years). The ICE investigation revealed that the Gomez organization, which was based in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, at one time was a large cell of the Guzman international drug-trafficking organization, judging by the large narcotics shipments it smuggled every week through El Paso.

The nearly five-year OCDETF investigation was a joint effort by ICE and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Other law enforcement agencies participating in the investigation included: the El Paso County Sheriff's Office High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), the Texas Department of Public Safety, the El Paso Police Department, and ICE Offices in New York, Seattle, Birmingham, Houston. The El Paso FBI Office and DEA Strike Force New York also played an active role in this case.

The investigation resulted in more than 20 seizures totaling more than 1,000 lbs. of cocaine, more than 2,820 lbs. of marijuana, and two separate cash seizures totaling more than $1.2 million.

More than 30 individuals were identified as active participants of the Gomez organizations' drug trafficking activities. Among the organization's members identified, were two members of the Barrio Azteca Street Gang who coordinated smuggling cocaine shipments into the United States.

"ICE and its law enforcement partners worked relentlessly for nearly five years on this case, which ultimately disrupted the flow of narcotics coming into the country by dismantling a major drug organization based here on the border," said Roberto G. Medina, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in El Paso."

To date, 25 of the organization's members, who have been prosecuted by federal authorities in this case, have been sentenced. Their combined sentences total 1,507 months. Fifteen individuals have been prosecuted by Texas law enforcement agencies and sentenced to a total of 80 years.

Arroyos-Carrillo, originally from Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, is among several members of the organization still at large. Arroyos-Carrillo, whose aliases include Jaime-Lopez-Carrillo, Jaime Carrillo-Fuentes and Jaime Apachuco-Romero, is believed to be in Chihuahua, Mexico.

In 1987, he was convicted of smuggling more than 700 lbs. of cocaine into Arizona. In 2000, he was deported as an aggravated felon through Laredo, Texas. As early as last year, he was known to own property and businesses in Ciudad Juarez.

Anyone with information about Arroyos-Carrillo, should call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE.