ROMA, Texas — Four family members who ran one of the largest cartel smuggling operations in south Texas had their life in prison sentences commuted and will likely be returning to this border city from where they ran their criminal empire. One of the main destinations that the criminal organizations delivered drugs to was Chicago, Illinois.
This week, outgoing President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 209 convicted criminals and pardoned 64 others. The majority of the convictions were from drug trafficking or production offenses.
Four of those convicted criminals who had been sentenced to life in prison will be released by May 17. They ran a criminal organization made up of close to 80 men and women who worked with Mexico’s Gulf Cartel to move between 100,000 to almost 750,000 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. during a 10-year period. The drugs were moved into Houston and then distributed to Atlanta, Chicago, and other major metropolitan areas.
According to court records obtained by Breitbart Texas, brothers Cesar Moreno Sr., Eduardo Moreno, Lazaro Moreno, and Luis Moreno along with other relatives and friends had been at the helm of a large-scale drug distribution operation based out of the border city of Roma, Texas. The area has long been one of he main distribution lines used by Mexico’s Gulf Cartel to get large quantities of marijuana into the U.S. due to the remoteness of the area, lacking physical barriers, and police resources–not to mention the complicity of various law enforcement officials.
In the case of the Moreno brothers, the groups invested heavily in real state and the used car business to launder millions in drug proceeds.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.