6 men plead guilty after RGV search yields 15 kilos of cocaine, $320K+ in cash

The men each face up to life in prison

Gavel. (Generic) (Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA)

Six men have pleaded guilty after a search in Rio Grande Valley yielded 15 kilograms of cocaine and more than $325,000 in cash.

Federal authorities said Jose Bernardo Gonzalez-Gomez, 55, and Jose Santiago Luna-Duran, 45, both Mexican citizens; Arlando Garcia-Garcia, 40, and Martin Vela-Alanis, 58, permanent residents of Edinburg; and Oscar Obed Manzanares, 21, and Martin Adrusbel Vela, 35, of Edinburg, are all accused in the cocaine trafficking conspiracy.

They pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the charge of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.

Federal authorities made the discovery on March 22, after Manzanares drove a GMC truck from Mexico to the U.S. and went to a business in McAllen, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Luna-Duran then took the truck to a property in Edinburg, where he was seen exchanging items between the truck and a Ford pickup, authorities said.

Garcia-Garcia drove the Ford truck to another structure on the property and removed a large duffel bag, authorities said. Vela, Vela-Alanis and Gonzalez-Gomez were all present at the time.

Authorities said they executed a search warrant and found the duffel bag with 15 bundles of cocaine, more than $90,000 in cash and a black and gold Colt Model 1911 pistol.

Luna-Duran returned to the business in McAllen, where he was detained. Authorities said they found more than $238,000 in cash inside the GMC.

The release states that they will be sentenced in December. They each face up to life in prison and a possible $10 million fine.

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.