On June 28, 2022, Juan Carlos Juarez-Torres, 41, of Mexico, was sentenced by United States District Judge Steven P. Logan to 240 months in prison, followed by 60 months of supervised release. Juarez-Torres previously pleaded guilty on October 13, 2021, to conspiracy to import marijuana, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
In October 2014, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began an 18-month wiretap investigation of Mexico-based members of a large international drug-trafficking organization (DTO) that smuggled multiple tons of marijuana from Mexico into the southern Arizona desert. Juarez-Torres coordinated and directed marijuana smuggling activities on behalf of the DTO and the pick-up and repatriation of marijuana proceeds to DTO members in Mexico. Additionally, Juarez-Torres coordinated and directed the purchase and smuggling of firearms and ammunition and the acquisition and distribution of equipment and vehicles for use by the DTO. HSI also intercepted communications between Juarez-Torres and other members of the DTO regarding the killing of rival drug traffickers, bribing public officials in furtherance of the DTO’s illicit activities, and the use of residences to store marijuana smuggled into the United States
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.