Authorities Arrest Members of Lubbock To El Paso Cocaine Ring - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/27/08

Authorities Arrest Members of Lubbock To El Paso Cocaine Ring

Thirteen members of an alleged drug trafficking organization are off Lubbock streets after a four-year investigation. Authorities say the cocaine ring spans from El Paso to the Hub City.

Ten people arrested during those raids Thursday and we're told they will all end up at the Lubbock County Jail.

The roundup started early Thursday morning with a bust in the 1500 block of 23rd Street. The Drug Enforcement Administration led the operation. Lubbock Police, Lubbock Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety assisted along with several other area agencies.

Federal indictments allege that all who were arrested have conspired to sell cocaine going back to as early as 2001. Authorities also executed seven search warrants in both Lubbock and Lynn Counties on Thursday.

Our cameras also caught a bust at an apartment in the 7200 block of 73 Street. It's allegedly linked to the cocaine ring as well.

The U.S. District Attorney's Office says that operation seized about two kilograms of cocaine along with drug trafficking paraphernalia, firearms and money.

Three other suspects were taken into custody prior to Thursday morning. El Paso authorities tell us John Patrick Morales II was arrested Wednesday night.

NewsChannel 11 has learned one of those arrested is mixed martial arts fighter Leonard Garcia. He was arrested Tuesday in allege connection with the cocaine ring. Garica is currently ranked sixth in the featherweight class in MMA. He has fought in UFC and Ultimate Fighting championships.

One other suspect is already in custody in the Lamb County. If convicted, three of those arrested could face up to 40 years in prison and up to a $2 million fine. The others could face up to life in prison and up to a $ 4 million fine.

Those accused were named in five federal indictments that were unsealed Thursday morning.  All but one of those named in the indictments has been arrested.

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