Leader of drug trafficking organization headed to prison

HOUSTON – A 47-year-old Mexican citizen has been ordered to federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Dimas DeLeon Rios pleaded guilty Nov. 9, 2017.

Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison imposed a total 15-year sentence. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. At the hearing, the court found DeLeon was the leader of the drug trafficking organization and tampered with three witnesses during the course of the investigation. Judge Ellison found that firearms were used during the commission of the offense and noted a kidnapping of a U.S. citizen at the hands of members of the Gulf Cartel was part of the case.

The investigation began in 2011 when authorities targeted a drug trafficking organization involved in the transportation and distribution of cocaine and marijuana. Authorities soon found the organization was also stealing loads of cocaine and marijuana from its sources of supply. As part of the scheme, the organization had created fake bundles of drugs and used law enforcement officers to seize them in order to cover up the theft.

DeLeon helped facilitate the distribution of more than 194 kilograms of cocaine during the course of the conspiracy. He and others were hired to transport the cocaine, but instead stole and sold it for profit. To cover up the theft, co-conspirators created fake drug bundles that were placed in an abandoned vehicle. DeLeon paid corrupt law enforcement officers for their participation in the scheme to seize the fake drugs.

This drug trafficking investigation has led to the arrest and prosecution of 20 individuals including six law enforcement officers, one of whom has already received a 10-year prison term. The court found another had played an integral role in the drug trafficking conspiracy, abused and exploited his position of trust and ordered him to serve 166 months in federal prison.

DeLeon will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation dubbed Operation Blue Shame. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey N. MacDonald and Anibal J. Alaniz prosecuted the case.

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