An affidavit filed by an special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in a case of possession and distribution of marijuana offers an exact and clear glimpse on how drug dealers are managing their retail operations across this border.
The affidavit relates to the criminal case against Jesús Chavez, a man arrested on federal drug smuggling charges on June 30. Chavez allegedly runs a daily marijuana smuggling operation from Ciudad Juarez into El Paso, documents show. According to the affidavit filed by FBI special agent Daniel Clark, Chavez and his partner Carlos Gomez, smuggled marijuana into El Paso by using the trunks of unsuspecting driver's vehicles.
The marijuana, according to the agent, was stored in El Paso and later on shipped to cities throughout the U.S. on a weekly basis.
The federal document details a scheme used by Chavez and Gomez that lead to the arrest of several El Pasoans, among them, Ana Isela Martinez Amaya, a private school teacher in El Paso waiting for a trial in Cd. Juarez on drug charges. Other victim of the scheme, according to the document, were Dr. Justus Lawrence Opot and Marisol Perez, who were arrested early on January in Juarez under drug charges too. Both were released after their defense demonstrated that the drugs were planted in their car.
According to the affidavit filed in federal court, Chavez and Gomez targeted professionals and students who used to travel to El Paso on a regular schedule using the express line. They selected their objectives based on the information given by “lookouts” or teenage kids whose job was to identify a target vehicle and write down the Vehicle Identification Number.
Once with this information, Chavez and Gomez would provide it to a Texas-based locksmith to prepare two keys for the target vehicle. One of the keys was kept by the suspects in El Paso, the other key would be given to their Juarez-based co-conspirators, the report states.
According to Clark, the co-conspirators would place the marijuana bags in the trunk of the target vehicle at night. The next morning, after the vehicle had crossed to El Paso, Chavez and Gomez would retrieve the bags from the car.
At least three more victims of the same scheme were mentioned in the affidavit.
In a conversation recorded by the FBI using a confidential source and quoted in the affidavit, Chavez and Gomez discussed the arrest of Martinez Amaya and talked about what went wrong in that case. “We made such a …mess”, Gomez said in the conversation. “No, but the damn soldiers saw that she (Martinez) was young. And they got her out. She was kind of cute.”
In the same conversation, they discussed how they choose Martinez as their target.
“Why did you pick her?,” the confidential source asks. “Was she really hot or what?”
“No, It's that look. Well we cross the ... vehicles like that… We have seen that girl for about a year because she's like a clock. At 5:00, she (Martinez Amaya) was there”.
Later on, they also discuss how Dr. Opot was able to get out from prison.
“Because the doctor (Opot) went and delivered (the marijuana) to the them (Mexican federal police). He (Opot) went and told them,” said Gomez. “The doctor told them (MX federal police) 'You know what? They put that (marijuana) in (the trunk of Perez's Mitsubishi Galant) And they arrested him (Opot) anyway.”
The document filed by the FBI special agent provides an intriguing view on drug smuggling schemes and the subsequent hearings will probably reveal more details on the connection Juarez/El Paso.
A detention hearing for Chavez will be held Thursday in U.S. District Judge Norbert Garney's court.