Sentence Part of “Operation Dirty Bird” Anti-Drug and Money Laundering Investigation
TEXARKANA, Texas: The Eastern District of Texas sentenced a Dallas man to prison for an international drug trafficking operation under Operation Dirty Bird, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.
Jose Armando Rosales-Bernal, 27, pleaded guilty on Sep. 1, 2020, to conspiring to distribute controlled substances was sentenced to 360 months in prison today by U.S. District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III. Rosales-Bernal agreed to forfeit $4 million in drug proceeds, $234,971 in U.S. currency, his home, three firearms, luxury jewelry, and three vehicles, including a cherry red Dodge Charger Hellcat.
“Today’s lengthy, 30-year prison sentence reflects exactly how East Texas feels about drug trafficking and enforcement,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “Not only will drug dealers lose their freedom for long periods, but they will also lose their money and other ill-gotten gains. We are grateful for the strong relationships with our many law enforcement partners that led to a just outcome in this important cause.”
“The lengthy sentence imposed today is not only appropriate but also a major win for HSI. And also for our partners who focus so many of our public safety efforts on removing drug traffickers from North Texas communities and beyond,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge HSI Dallas. “The dismantlement of this defendant’s transnational drug operation and seizure of his assets will strike a significant blow in the fight to stop the illegal importation and distribution of dangerous drugs throughout the United States.”
According to information presented in court, Rosales-Bernal, Rodolfo Javier Falcon, Eleazar Martinez Reyes, Gerardo Cabrera Ramirez, Julio Villarreal, Armando Moreno Jr., Claudia Claribel Gardea, Jose Geraldo Ornelas-Pineda, David Martinez, and others conspired to distribute more than 150 kilograms of cocaine, along with methamphetamine and heroin, from the Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel in Mexico. The group distributed drugs in Dallas, East Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, and Michigan. On one occasion, Falcon, Gardea, and Ornelas-Pineda—and two young children—were stopped in Tennessee carrying nine kilograms of cocaine from Rosales-Bernal to North Carolina.
The organization was also responsible for shipping drug proceeds back to Mexico in the form of bulk cash. Law enforcement intercepted one bulk cash shipment of approximately $350,000. Rosales-Bernal and Falcon both occupied leadership roles in the drug trafficking organization. During the conspiracy, Rosales-Bernal, Falcon, Martinez, and others possessed and carried firearms to safeguard their drugs and cash. Rosales-Bernal and others spent their drug proceeds on lavish lifestyle items, including the Dodge Charger Hellcat, flashy watches, exotic weapons, a jewel-encrusted rooster necklace, and numerous pairs of luxury shoes and boots.
Operation Dirty Bird is a long-term drug trafficking and money laundering investigation. It has led to the seizure of more than $500,000 in U.S. Currency, almost 40 kilograms of cocaine, more than a quarter kilogram of methamphetamine, nine firearms, several vehicles, two houses in Dallas, and an array of fine jewelry.
Rosales-Bernal, Villarreal, Moreno, Falcon, Ramirez, Gardea, Ornelas-Pineda, Dalia Janet Campos Rosales, Reyes, and Martinez were previously charged and arrested as a result of this investigation. Falcon, Ramirez, Gardea, Reyes, Ornelas-Pineda, Moreno, and Villarreal have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced collectively to more than 800 months in prison, while Campos Rosales has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Martinez has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. This case is pending in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. If convicted, Martinez faces a minimum of 15 years and as much as life in federal prison.
The Mount Pleasant office of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Dallas office of Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case. In addition, the following agencies have played critical roles in this investigation: the Mesquite, Texas, Police Department SWAT team; the Texas National Guard; the Texas Department of Public Safety, Highway Patrol Division and Aircraft Division; the George West, Texas, Police Department; the 23rd Judicial Drug Task Force in Dickson, Tennessee; and the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan R. Hornok prosecuted the case.