Friday, September 04, 2020

Two Men Plead Guilty to Drug Trafficking in Operation Dirty Bird

 TEXARKANA, Texas – Two Texas men have pleaded guilty to drug trafficking in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox today.

Rodolfo Javier Falcon, 36, of Titus County, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline M. Craven on August 20, 2020. Falcon agreed to forfeit $5 million in drug proceeds.

Jose Armando Rosales-Bernal, 27, of Dallas County, Texas, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline M. Craven on September 1, 2020. Rosales-Bernal agreed to forfeit $4 million in drug proceeds; $234,971.00 in U.S. currency; his home in Dallas, Texas; numerous firearms; two luxury watches; a gold necklace with a rooster-shaped pendant covered in jewels; and three vehicles, including a Dodge Charger Hellcat.

According to information presented in court, Falcon, Rosales-Bernal, and others conspired to distribute more than 150 kilograms of Mexican cocaine in Dallas, East Texas, and beyond. In fact, Falcon and others—including two children—were stopped in Tennessee carrying nine kilograms of cocaine to distribute in North Carolina. The organization was also responsible for shipping drug proceeds, in the form of bulk cash, back to Mexico. For example, law enforcement intercepted one bulk cash shipment of approximately $350,000.00. Rosales-Bernal and Falcon both occupied leadership roles in the drug trafficking organization, which also distributed methamphetamine. During the investigation, law enforcement observed several members of the organization—including Rosales-Bernal—carrying firearms. Rosales-Bernal admitted that he possessed multiple firearms because he knew that the large quantity of drugs being trafficked by the organization made their activities inherently dangerous. Rosales-Bernal also described how he spent his drug proceeds on lavish lifestyle items, including a Dodge Charger Hellcat, flashy watches, a jewel encrusted rooster necklace, and numerous pairs of shoes and boots.

Under federal statutes, Falcon faces at least 10 years and up to life in federal prison at sentencing; Rosales-Bernal faces at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison at sentencing. The statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

Operation Dirty Bird is a long-term drug trafficking and money-laundering investigation that has already led to the seizure of more than $500,000.00 in U.S. Currency, almost 40 kilograms of cocaine, more than a quarter kilogram of methamphetamine, nine firearms, and multiple vehicles.

Rosales-Bernal, Julio Villarreal, Armando Moreno Jr., Falcon, Gerardo Cabrera Ramirez, Claudia Claribel Gardea, Jose Geraldo Ornelas-Pineda, Dalia Janes Campos Rosales, Eleazar Martinez Reyes, and David Martinez were previously charged and arrested as a result of this investigation. Ornelas-Pineda and Moreno have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. Rosales-Bernal, Villarreal, Falcon, Ramirez, Reyes, and Gardea have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Campos Rosales and Martinez have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. This case is pending in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.

If convicted, Campos Rosales and Martinez face a minimum of 15 years and as much as life in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the Mount Pleasant office of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Criminal Investigation Division and the Dallas office of Homeland Security Investigations SRT. In addition, the following agencies have played critical roles in this investigation: the Mesquite, Texas, Police Department SWAT team; the Texas National Guard; the Texas Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division and Aircraft Division; the George West, Texas, Police Department; the 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force in Dickson, Tennessee; and the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan R. Hornok.

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