Federal authorities arrested 28 people and charged them with participating in a cocaine-smuggling ring that brought millions of dollars in drugs from Honduras to northern Virginia over the past six years.
Court records indicated that many of those arrested were illegal immigrants living in northern Virginia.
The smugglers would bring in several pounds of cocaine at a time by hiding it in common items like shoes and wooden frames on flights from Honduras to the United States.
The drugs allegedly were distributed to dealers in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Massachusetts.
Members of the ring allegedly wired more than $1 million from the U.S. back to suppliers in Honduras.
The investigation began in the fall following the arrests in Fairfax County of Lindor Delis Martinez-Guevara, aka Lindo or Genero, 38, of Falls Church, and Melcy Yalexsy Guevara-Barrera, aka Pedro or Primo, 35, of Vienna, according to the affidavit. They -- along with Samuel Benitez-Pineda, aka Wilfredo Benitez or Roque or Chiripa, 34, of Arlington, and Jose Fredy Delcid, aka Oscar Salgado or Oscar or Franklin or Chami or Matador, 34, of Falls Church -- had contact with the suppliers in Honduras, authorities said. Martinez-Guevara came up with the idea of hiding the drugs in frames, according to the affidavit.
Also arrested were:
- Hector Mauricio Amaya, aka Conejo or Kaubil, 36, of Falls Church
- Genis Jhesson Amaya-Pena, aka Jenis Yexon Amaya-Pena or Flaco or Juanchope, 25, of Vienna
- Marvin Eduardo Escobar Barrios, aka Catracho or Garrobo, 37, of West Falls Church
- Wilson Reniery Guevara, aka Wilsson R. Guevara, 34, of Manassas
- Joel Lopez, 41, of Springfield
- Annelo Argueta Reyes, aka Nelo, 35, of Falls Church
- Mario Noel Medina-Aguilar, aka Noel, 28, of Falls Church
- Julio Giovanni Nolasco, aka Puma, 18, of Falls Church
- Concepcion Benitez-Pineda, aka Conchi or Concha, 38, of Arlington
- Mario Benitez-Pineda, aka Chaparro or Cuzuco, 42, of Falls Church
- Santos Efrain Carbajal Benites, 24, of Arlington
- Angel Zelaya Lizama, aka El Diablo, 29, of Falls Church
- Jose Delores Vanegas, aka Chivito, 40, of Arlington
- Isaias Abrego-Mancia, 28, of Herndon
- Rudy Humberto Tabaro, aka Rudy Humberto Tabara or Colocho, 30, of Lutherville, Md.
- Edwin Espana Morales, 38, of Riverdale, Md.
- Jose Lorenzo Saravia, aka Jose Saravia-Lozano, 40, of Manassas
- FNU LNU, aka Alex or Gordito, of Falls Church
- Maria Florinda Benitez-Pineda, aka Flor or Loli, 26, of Baltimore
- Jose Maria Benites-Pineda, 32, of Arlington
- Jose Enrique Funez, aka Jose Enrique Funz-Garay or Jose Enrique Funes-Garay or Rick, 40, of Norfolk
- Martin Juarez-Lopez, 19, of Falls Church
- Gloria Elena Olivia Castro, 25, of Springfield
- Joaquin Avila-Rodriguez, aka Pollo, 40, of Herndon
The 28 face prosecution in federal court in Alexandria. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia said Thursday that the defendants face from five to 40 years in prison.