Prison Time for Texas Man Running Los Zetas Warehouse near Border

AP File Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

31 Mar 2016

LAREDO, Texas — A Texas warehouse manager for a local company had been using his position to secretly allow members of the Los Zetas drug cartel to move and hide ton quantities of drugs from this border city into Dallas, Texas.

On Wednesday U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo sentenced 57-year-old Rafael “Tio” Ortega to a ten year prison sentenced for his role in a massive drug operation by Los Zetas in Texas. According to information provided to Breitbart Texas by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Tio” is directly responsible for helping is drug trafficking cell move more than 13,800 pounds of marijuana through Laredo, Texas.

Ortega, the former manager at a local industrial warehouse, had previously been convicted in November following a three day trial. Information that came out during that trial form 13 witnesses in the case and from more than 300 exhibits proved to jurors that without the knowledge or the consent of his bosses, Ortega provided a warehouse to the Trejo Nava cell of Los Zetas in order to help the group move large drug shipments. The man known as “Tio” was paid $3,000 per shipment.

Tractor trailers would drive up to the industrial warehouse where Ortega and other members of the drug crew would unload some wooden crates in order to fill them up with marijuana bundles that they collected from local stash houses. Once filled the crates were the loaded into the trailers and the trucks continues their journey north into Dallas. Surveillance evidence at the trial revealed that Ortega had even used a forklift to help the drug traffickers load and unload the crates.

Breitbart Texas reported initially when U.S. authorities arrested 17 members of the Los Zetas cartel cell run by Erasmo Trejo Nava in February 2015.

By September a new member had been arrested making a total of 18 Los Zetas cartel members including their leader Trejo Nava who pleaded guilty to drug charges as part of a plea deal, Breitbart Texas reported. The rest of the Los Zetas drug cell remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing.