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Narcotics
11/26/2019

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ICE HSI Tucson and the Tucson Police Department partner with local law enforcement to arrest 11 people on drug and money laundering charges

TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and Tucson Police Department (TPD) officers under the Counter Narcotics Alliance (CNA) umbrella, concluded a two-week enforcement activity Thursday that resulted in 11 arrests while executing state search warrants related to an ongoing drug and money laundering investigation.

“This investigation’s success is a direct result of the strong partnership between HSI Tucson and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners,” said Chad Plantz, deputy special agent in charge for HSI Tucson. “Close coordination between law enforcement agencies and harnessing our collective resources is essential to ensuring alleged criminals like those arrested are removed from our community.”

The investigation began in 2017 after HSI special agents and TPD officers discovered evidence that drug trafficking organizations were utilizing United Parcel Service (UPS) employees to facilitate the movement of bulk narcotics to destinations throughout the eastern part of the United States, along with the movement of bulk U.S. currency back to the Tucson metropolitan area.

“This investigation has identified and mitigated vulnerabilities in the shipping infrastructure that has allowed the undetected trafficking of narcotics for more than a decade. It would not be possible to successfully prosecute these criminals without the expertise, resources, and commitment from our federal law enforcement partners. HSI through the Tucson Financial Task Force, was an absolutely essential partner in moving this case to prosecution. A dozen other agencies had a part of this tremendous effort largely because of the leadership within those agencies, and because of the coordination of the Arizona HIDTA,” according to CNA Commander John Leavitt.

During the investigation law enforcement officers discovered that UPS drivers and supervisors were allegedly using sophisticated methods and techniques to defeat internal measures and law enforcement efforts to identify and intercept parcels containing contraband. Over the last two weeks agents made numerous arrests that included four UPS employees, both drivers and supervisors. The other alleged drug traffickers were arrested at locations throughout Pima County. An extensive amount of evidence was seized during the search warrants such as distribution quantities of narcotics, commercial grade equipment used to manufacture illicit drugs and approximately 50,000 counterfeit THC vape pens. Bulk currency along with other drug proceed assets were taken into evidence for seizure consideration, including a Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Raptor trucks and a Range Rover.

Those arrested face various Arizona state charges related to narcotic smuggling, drug possession, drug possession for sale, money laundering, conspiracy, and misconduct involving weapons:

  • Fernando Navarro-Figueroa, 32
  • Raul Garcia Cordova, 47
  • Abraham Felix-Navarro, 27
  • Heriberto Martinez-Bojorquez, 24
  • Thomas Mendoza, 47
  • Victor Molina, 32
  • Mario Barcelo, 49
  • Michael Castro, 34
  • Jonathan Gallegos, 26
  • Gary Love, 40
  • Martin Siqueiros, 31

This case is being prosecuted by Arizona Attorney General Office. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.

The Tucson Counter Narcotics Alliance and the HSI Tucson Financial Task Force are composed of various local, state and federal law enforcement agencies within the greater Tucson Area and fall under the umbrella of the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

Law enforcement commends UPS security services for their assistance in furthering this ongoing investigation.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/09/2019