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Nine arrested in drug ringBy Karen GleasonDel Rio News-Herald Published October 8, 2006Nine men, including seven undocumented immigrants and a 53-year-old resident of Langtry, have been arrested as part of an alleged drug-smuggling ring in western Val Verde County.Arrested by state and federal agents Sept. 29 were James Carl Haas, 53, of Langtry, Texas; Carlos Guerrero, 37; Manuel Sanchez Fuentes, 31; Juan Raul Frias Olvera, 25; William Uriel Magallanes Perez, 19; Julio Cesar Alvarado Perez, 23; Juan Valenzuela Castro, 25; Juan Alberto Perez Martinez, 30; and Alfredo Contreras Ortega, 32.According to a criminal complaint in the case on file in the U.S. District Clerk’s Office, “During the first weeks of September 2006, U.S. Border Patrol agents from Comstock working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents and Texas Department of Public Safety Narcotics Service have seized more than 800 pounds of marijuana in close proximity to the residence in Langtry, Texas owned by James Carl Haas.”The complaint reads that about 1 a.m. on Sept. 29, Border Patrol Special Response Team (SRT) members “observed the yard light next to the residence turn off and a short time later, five individuals walked from the direction of the house and traveled northeast into the brush.”SRT members notified ICE special agents of the activity at the house.“The SRT observed the individuals travel approximately 1/2 mile from the house, disappear in the thick brush, then reappear, regroup and return using the same route back to the house. As the group passed, the SRT members observed six individuals, five carrying large, heavy square bundles configured and wrapped consistent with bundles of marijuana recovered in the area earlier that month.”The complaint further states that the six individuals walked through the yard, then the yard light came back on and “quickly turned off again as the group walked to an area west of the house and approximately 75 yards from the barn.”At 10 a.m. on Sept. 29, a federal search warrant was received for the residence and barn areas, located off Rural Route 1, the Pandale Road, in Langtry, the complaint states.“At 12:30 p.m., a blue Chevrolet pickup truck arrived at the residence and an adult male exited the truck and walked into the house,” the complaint reads.The man who exited the truck was later identified as Haas’ brother Russell, who, although he was at first detained in the subsequent bust, was later released and “prosecution is not anticipated.”“Ten minutes later SRT members observed a 1992 Chevrolet pickup enter the driveway and pull up to the barn near the house. James Haas was outside and directed the driver of the truck from the barn to the area where the SRT had seen the six individuals pack the large bundles.“James Haas directed the driver of the truck, later identified as Carlos Guerrero, to a broken-down pickup truck. James Haas opened the broken-down truck’s door and showed Guerrero that the bundles were inside the cab and then walked off.“Guerrero loaded the bundles into the cab of his truck and drove towards the house. Guerrero stopped and spoke briefly with Haas and then departed the ranch and proceeded south on Highway 90,” the complaint states.The complaint reads that U.S. Border Patrol Comstock marked units attempted to stop the truck, “but the truck failed to yield.”“Guerrero traveled through Comstock and turned onto FM 163 at a high rate of speed,” the complaint reads.A U.S. Border Patrol helicopter assisted in the chase and 75 miles later, Guerrero’s truck was stopped by DPS officers using used tire spikes laid on the road.“Guerrero exited the truck and fled into the brush,” the complaint reads.Guerrero was arrested after a short chase by Border Patrol and ICE agents.Five large bundles were recovered from the cab of the truck. According to the complaint, samples from the bundles tested positive for marijuana, and the weight of the five bundles totaled 328 pounds.The complaint indicates that Haas gave a statement to federal officers following his arrest.“James Haas has confessed to his knowledge and participation in the illegal smuggling of marijuana into the U.S. James stated he was to be paid $1,000. James also stated that this was the second time he had assisted in the smuggling of narcotics,” the complaint reads.All of those arrested have been charged with conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
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