UPS drivers and supervisors were part of a scheme to distribute drugs from Tucson around the U.S., according to investigators close to the case.
That’s the latest in an investigation KGUN 9 has been following since a series of raids late last week, including a multimillion-dollar mansion near Marana and Oro Valley.
Up to now we’ve learned from court documents about a long list of suspects with charges related to selling vape pens that dispense THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its high. Now, police close to the investigation say drug traffickers had four people on the inside at UPS.
Homeland Security Investigations confirmed the details in a news release sent Tuesday afternoon.
The raid by agents of Homeland Security Investigations and the Regional Counter Narcotics Alliance offered a glimpse of a large mansion stocked with fancy vehicles. Agents hauled away pickup trucks, SUVs, a sports car and a motorboat from the muiltimillion-dollar home. It was one of five locations where law enforcement executed search warrants in the year-long investigation that netted 11 arrests.
Property records say Raul Garcia Cordova owns the home near Moore Road and Como Drive northwest of Tucson. Arrest records say investigators found a load of marijuana stashed under his hot tub, and HSI says the raids uncovered at least 50,000 counterfeit THC vape pens. They also say Cordova was the money man behind a large drug trafficking scheme.
We know from court documents that some of the charges involve making and selling Vape pens that dispense THC, but delivering the product has to be part of any drug operation.
In a new release Tuesday afternoon, HSI said agents first learned of the scheme involving UPS back in 2017.
A UPS center on the corner of Park Avenue and Silverlake Road in Tucson figures prominently into the investigation. Investigators say suspects used UPS to move large shipments of THC vape pens and marijuana to the eastern U.S., then moved large amounts of cash back to Tucson. HSI says two UPS drivers and two supervisors were involved in the plan and helped drug traffickers avoid being caught by UPS security.
Investigators tell us now former UPS supervisors Mario Barcelo and Gary Love were among the people arrested, along with two drivers, Michael Castro and Thomas Mendoza.
A UPS spokesperson released a statement on the arrests to KGUN Tuesday afternoon:
UPS is aware of the law enforcement actions involving employees. We cooperate fully with law enforcement professionals and will continue to provide information as needed. We are not at liberty to discuss the details of the arrests as this is an ongoing investigation. Any further public information will be made available by law enforcement personnel.
KGUN 9 learned that search warrant records -- which would detail what investigators found when they executed last week's raids -- are sealed by court order. It's a sign that they would reveal too much at this stage of the investigation.
The Arizona Attorney General's office is prosecuting the case, HSI confirmed in a news release Tuesday afternoon.
The names and ages of the 11 suspects arrested in the case are:
• Fernando Navarro-Figueroa, 32
• Raul Garcia Cordova, 47
• Abraham Felix-Navarro, 27
• Heriberto Martinez-Bojorquez, 24
• Thomas Mendoza, 47
• Victor Molina, 32
• Mario Barcelo, 49
• Michael Castro, 34
• Jonathan Gallegos, 26
• Gary Love, 40
• Martin Siqueiros 31