Man arrested in Valley for role in "Gringo Mike" cocaine deal
It TMs an undercover sting that reads like a Hollywood script taking place in Panama, San Antonio, Houston and even the Rio Grande Valley.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents arrested Hector Gabriel Barrios-Hernandez in Hidalgo County on Tuesday.
Barrios-Hernandez remains in custody in the Rio Grande Valley but is facing extradition to San Antonio where he faces federal drug charges.
Court records filed the cases were unsealed on Wednesday.
They detail an undercover investigation that spanned several months and unfolded in Panama, San Antonio, Houston and McAllen.
The records show that the investigation started back in August 2012.
That TMs when a DEA informant in San Antonio reported being approached by a man named Carlos Alberto Fernandez.
According to the informant, Fernandez was trying to buy large quantities of cocaine for a Gulf Cartel leader Miguel Villarreal.
Villarreal, who went by the nicknames El Gringo or Gringo Mike, reportedly had between $10 to $12 million dollars to buy 1,000 kilograms of cocaine.
Although Villarreal was rumored to have been killed in Tamaulipas last year, he was the Gulf Cartel's plaza boss in Reynosa at the time.
Fernandez was reportedly in Guatemala to buy cocaine for Villarreal but didn TMt like the quality of the drug there.
The informant set up a meeting with Fernandez, another informant and an undercover DEA agent in Panama.
Both Fernandez and Barrios-Hernandez arrived at the meeting in Panama in September.
The DEA informant and the undercover agent pretended to be Colombian cocaine suppliers.
Court records show that that informant told Fernandez and Barrios-Hernandez that they ship cocaine through cargo ships in Panama.
Both Fernandez and Barrios-Hernandez allegedly negotiated a deal: $871,500 dollars for 100 kilograms of cocaine.
San Antonio Connection
The investigation picked again in October when the undercover DEA agent was supposed to pick up the cash for the deal.
Court records show a Houston man named Luis Miguel Hernandez was supposed to deliver the cash.
Hernandez met the agent in San Antonio where he made a $708,710 payment for the drugs.
Records show that DEA agents were able to identify three other people connected to the organization in the incident.
Records show that things were quiet until November 2012 when the drugs were supposed to be delivered in Houston.
The undercover agent made the final payment arrangement with Barrios-Hernandez.
He also made arrangements with Hernandez to deliver the drugs to a business on the 12200 block Sowden Road in Houston.
According to court records, fake cocaine was being delivered in an 18-wheeler by two undercover drivers.
DEA agents arranged for a Houston police unit to stop the truck near the business and stage an arrest and drug seizure.
McAllen Court Case
It TMs not clear if the others have been arrested or not but Barrios-Hernandez remains in custody in the Rio Grande Valley.
Barrios-Hernandez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby in McAllen on Tuesday morning.
Judge Ormsby denied bond for Barrios-Hernandez until a Friday morning hearing.
Barrios-Hernandez faces extradition to San Antonio where he faces 10 years to life in prison and/or a $10 million dollar fine.