EL PASO — The co-owner of a popular Downtown El Paso nightclub was arrested Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who believe he is involved in an international drug-trafficking ring.
Javier Daniel Guerrero, 30, one of two owners of Studio 69, 522 San Francisco, was arrested Friday morning on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said.
Julio M. Velez, acting special agent in charge of ICE, said, “This type of criminal organization not only poisons our communities with drugs. They threaten public safety, and keep their suppliers — the Mexican drug cartels — in business. … Dismantling drug-trafficking organizations that operate in our area helps cut off the supply.”
Guerrero was arrested in a Canutillo rest area near his home in the 8800 block of De Alva Drive, where ICE agents executed a federal search warrant.
Agents seized several weapons, $57,500 in cash and five vehicles — a BMW 745 IL, a Chevrolet Tahoe, a Lincoln Mark V, a Ford F-150 and a vintage truck — Zamarripa said.
As part of the investigation, ICE agents also raided two houses in the 900 block of Zinn in Canutillo and Studio 69.
“ICE believe Guerrero is a key player in an international drug-trafficking organization that shipped marijuana loads from El Paso to various cities in the nation,” Zamarripa said.
The arrest was made after an investigation revealed that between Jan. 17 and Feb. 23, Guerrero allegedly planned to deliver a marijuana shipment from El Paso to Chicago and was trying to recruit local truck drivers, Zamarripa said.
She said Guerrero allegedly recruited local truck drivers to deliver loads of marijuana from El Paso to northern states. She added that Guerrero paid drivers between $30,000 and $50,000 per shipment.
Zamarripa said that from January to February, Guerrero allegedly coordinated the delivery of 1,227 pounds of marijuana from McAllen to Athens, Ga.
Guerrero is being held in the El Paso County Jail, and he is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court Monday. If convicted, he will face a maximum punishment of life in prison.
According to El Paso Times archives, Studio 69 nightclub first opened in 2004, and was part of the Union Plaza Entertainment District. It closed, but it was unclear when.
In Nov. 21, 2007, the club reopened under the new ownership of Guerrero and Javier Gomez, who has not been implicated in the investigation.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents, Department of Public Safety troopers and El Paso County
Sheriff’s Office deputies assisted with the investigation.
SOURCE: El Paso Times & Aileen B. Flores may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 915-546-6362.
It not the Mexicans hauling this shit, but the good ol boy American truckers. And who can blame them for that kind of payday in these economic times. Stupidity has a price. This is what ICE should be doing instead of the inhumane workplace raids