Rodolfo Javier Falcon, 36, of Titus County, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline M. Craven on August 20, 2020. Falcon agreed to forfeit $5 million in drug proceeds.
Jose Armando Rosales-Bernal, 27, of Dallas County, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute controlled substances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline M. Craven on September 1, 2020. Rosales-Bernal agreed to forfeit $4 million in drug proceeds; $234,971.00 in U.S. currency; his home in Dallas, Texas; numerous firearms; two luxury watches; a gold necklace with a rooster-shaped pendant covered in jewels; and three vehicles, including a Dodge Charger Hellcat.
According to information presented in court, Falcon, Rosales-Bernal, and others conspired to distribute more than 150 kilograms of Mexican cocaine in Dallas, East Texas, and beyond. Falcon and others-including two children-were stopped in Tennessee carrying nine kilograms of cocaine to distribute in North Carolina. The organization was also responsible for shipping drug proceeds, in the form of bulk cash, back to Mexico. For example, law enforcement intercepted one bulk cash shipment of approximately $350,000.00, and Rosales-Bernal and Falcon both occupied leadership roles in the drug trafficking organization, which also distributed methamphetamine. During the investigation, law enforcement observed several members of the organization-including Rosales-Bernal-carrying firearms. Rosales-Bernal admitted that he possessed multiple guns because he knew that many drugs trafficked by the organization made their activities inherently dangerous. Rosales-Bernal also described how he spent his drug proceeds on lavish lifestyle items, including a Dodge Charger Hellcat, flashy watches, a jewel-encrusted rooster necklace, and numerous pairs of shoes and boots.
Under federal statutes, Falcon faces at least ten years and to life in federal prison at sentencing. Rosales-Bernal faces at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison at sentencing. The statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the court will determine the sentencing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing comes after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
Operation Dirty Bird is a long-term drug trafficking and money-laundering investigation that has already led to the seizure of more than $500,000.00 in U.S. Currency, almost 40 kilograms of cocaine, more than a quarter kilogram of methamphetamine, nine firearms, and multiple vehicles.
Rosales-Bernal, Julio Villarreal, Armando Moreno Jr., Falcon, Gerardo Cabrera Ramirez, Claudia Claribel Gardea, Jose Geraldo Ornelas-Pineda, Dalia Janes Campos Rosales, Eleazar Martinez Reyes, and David Martinez were previously charged and arrested as a result of this investigation. Ornelas-Pineda and Moreno have pleaded guilty and received sentences, and Rosales-Bernal, Villarreal, Falcon, Ramirez, Reyes, and Gardea have pleaded guilty are awaiting sentencing. Campos Rosales and Martinez have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. This case is pending in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.
If convicted, Campos Rosales and Martinez face a minimum of 15 years and 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 SRT invested the case. Also, 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
- the Mount Pleasant, Texas, Police Department
The Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan R. Hornok prosecuted the case.