DEA charges 2 men with drug trafficking related to pot found on VHHS school

In Alpine, two men face federal drug trafficking charges related to the
discovery of more than 480 pounds of marijuana on a CCAISD school bus
last year announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and DEA-El Paso
Division Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit.

A two-count
federal grand jury indictment, returned Tuesday in Pecos, TX, and
unsealed following their arrests yesterday, charges 22–year-old Anthony
Paredez-Juarez of Odessa, TX, and 20–year-old George Jacob Cosme-Baird
of Presidio, TX, with one count of attempted possession of between 100
kilograms and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and one count of possession
with intent to distribute between 100 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms of
marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, namely Presidio High School.

The
indictment stems from an investigation resulting from a marijuana
seizure on November 19, 2012, at a convenience store in Marfa, TX.
Earlier in the day, the school bus was used to transport students from
Van Horn to Presidio, for a basketball game and was now en route back to
Van Horn.

According to authorities, the bus driver alerted U.S.
Border Patrol agents, who were also at the convenience store, when he
noticed several duffle bags in the bay area of the bus which not there
when they departed Van Horn.

The agents took possession of the
duffle bags after discovering the marijuana inside. “This case involved a
particularly brazen act of using a school bus and students as cover for
a drug load.

These arrests and federal charges should send a
message that law enforcement agencies will work together to ensure that
persons involved in these types of activity are brought to justice,
especially when the safety of our children is concerned. This case also
shows the importance of the cooperation we receive from vigilant and
honest citizens, without whose assistance we could not do our jobs,”
stated DEA-El Paso Division Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit.

Upon
conviction, each defendant faces a minimum of five years in federal
prison per count. The statutory maximum sentence for conviction of the
school zone related drug charge is 80 years incarceration and a $10
million fine. The statutory maximum sentence for conviction of the other
drug charge is 40 years incarceration and a $5 million fine.

Both
defendants remain in federal custody pending the outcome of a detention
hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on June 19, 2013, before U.S.
Magistrate Judge B. Dwight Goains in Alpine.

This indictment
resulted from an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement
Administration (Alpine) together with the U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland
Security Investigations (HSI-Alpine) and the Texas Department of Public
Safety Narcotics Division (Alpine). Assistant United States Attorney
James J. Miller, Jr., is prosecuting this case on behalf of the
Government. An indictment is merely a charge and should not be
considered as evidence of guilt.

The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Courtesy Bernie Bolf,
DEA Office Alpine