Final Plea Bargain Made in Huge Cocaine Ring


Published 07/07 2014 11:19AM

Updated 07/07 2014 05:16PM

LUBBOCK, TX -- The last of eight defendants in a big cocaine bust pleaded guilty last week in Lubbock. Federal prosecutors described it as a “cocaine distribution conspiracy that operated in Mexico and in Lubbock, Borger and Odessa.”

Efren Fabela Lopez, 34, of Odessa was the last defendant to plead guilty; his charges were reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, and he will be sentenced at a later date to no more than one year in federal prison.

The investigation was led by the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

A written statement said, “This investigation… resulted in the seizure of 30 pounds of cocaine in Lubbock and Odessa that had been brought in from Mexico, 10 firearms and nearly $200,000 in cash in Borger.”

Much of the cash in Borger was hidden in the walls of a home. 

Martin Cardona Gutierrez, 46, of Odessa; Javier Lopez Lujan, 47, of Borger; Refugio Navarrete Gutierrez, 34, of Mexico; and Manuel Carillo Ortiz, 38, of Mexico pleaded guilty last month to a cocaine-related conspiracy charge. They all face between 10 years and life in prison.

Israel Velasco, 35, of Odessa, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Jerardo Salcedo Garcia, 27, of Odessa, pleaded guilty last month to possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and he faces up to 20 years in federal prison. 

Ismael Velasco, 35, of Odessa, pleaded guilty last month to unlawful use of a communication facility. He faces up to four years in federal prison. An indictment was dismissed against Gisselle Lujan, 26.

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