3 Arizona men in drug trafficking organization plead guilty to narcotics charges

Jul 5, 2023, 4:25 AM

NOGALES, AZ - JULY 22:  The U.S.-Mexico border fence is seen at sunset in Nogales, Arizona. (Photo ...

NOGALES, AZ - JULY 22: The U.S.-Mexico border fence is seen at sunset in Nogales, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Three Arizona men of a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization (DTO) pleaded guilty to importing and distributing narcotics, authorities said.

Angel Adan Valenzuela, 25, and Refugio Veronica Quintero Moreno, 46, of Rio Rico, as well as Benjamin Soto Jr., 47, of Nogales, routinely transported narcotics from Mexico through Nogales from January 2020 – April 2022 and would ship them throughout the United States, according to a press release.

The men would move the drugs to a facility in Nogales before preparing them for shipment.

Soto and Quintero Moreno worked at a commercial shipping company in Nogales and commonly accepted narcotics-laden packages from couriers without requesting identification or payment and mailed the packages fraudulently by using existing business accounts, according to the release.

Valenzuela paid the two men on behalf of the DTO in weekly payments.

From September-November 2021, agents intercepted 21 packages resulting in the seizure of more than 30 kilograms of methamphetamine, 20 kilograms of cocaine, seven kilograms of fentanyl and four kilograms of heroin, authorities said.

The three men pleaded guilty to a two-count indictment charging each with conspiring to import five kilograms or more of cocaine, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, 400 grams or more of fentanyl and conspiring to distribute those amounts of those substances.

Each man faces a minimum of 10 year sentence for each count.

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3 Arizona men in drug trafficking organization plead guilty to narcotics charges