CRIME

Northern Virginia/Honduras drug ring: 28 arrested in alleged cocaine ring

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More than two dozen people from Maryland and Virginia have been arrested for their roles in a Northern Virginia-based drug ring in which they allegedly trafficked cocaine from Honduras into the United States, officials say.

Couriers involved in the ring allegedly concealed the drugs with souvenirs from Honduras. (Photo: Department of Justice)

According to FBI and U.S. Attorney's officials, the members of the ring have been allegedly coordinating with sources in the Central American nation since May 2006 to pay couriers to fly the drugs from Honduras to the U.S. on a regular basis. The couriers would conceal the cocaine inside legal items, such as clothing, food and souvenirs.

In total, 28 people from all over Maryland and Virginia were arrested.

The goal of the conspirators, officials say, was to hide the cocaine in items that were so innocuous that it would blend in with the other cargo the couriers were carrying. Shoes and wooden frames were included among the items, officials say.

Once the drugs got to the United States, authorities say members of the conspiracy would pick up the items and distribute the drugs to dealers in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Massachusetts. They would then wire money from the sales back to Honduras.

"Through creativity and coordination, this tight network of Honduran immigrants allegedly distributed vast amounts of cocaine throughout Northern Virginia and across the mid-Atlantic," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement.

The 28 people arrested include:

Hector Mauricio Amaya, 36, Falls Church
Genis Jhesson Amaya-Pena, 25, Vienna
Marvin Eduardo Escoar barrios, 37, West Falls Church
Wilson Reniery Guevara, 34, Manassas
Joel Lopez, 41, Springfield
Annelo Argueta Reyes, 35, Falls Church
Mario Noel Medina-Aguilar, 28, Falls Church
Julio Giovanni Nolaso, 18, Falls Church
Concepcion Benitez-Pineda, 38, Arlington
Mario Benitez-Pineda, 42, Falls Church
Santos Efrain Carbajal Benites, 24, Arlington
Angel Zelaya Lizama, 29, Falls Church
Jose Delores Vanegas, 40, Arlington
Isaias Abrego-Mancia, 38, Herndon
Rudy Humberto Tabaro, 30, Lutherville
Edwin Espana Moreles, 38, Riverdale
Jose Lorenzo Saravia, 40, Manassas
FNU LNU (aka Alex or Gordito), Falls Church
Maria Florinda Benitez-Pineda, 26, Baltimore
Jose Maria Benites-Pineda, 26, Baltimore
Jose Enrique Funez, 40, Norfolk
Martin Juarez-Lopez, 19, Falls Church
Gloria Elena Olivia Castro, 25, Springfield
Joaquin Avila-Rodriguez, 40, Herndon
Lindor Delis Martinez-Guevara, 38, Falls Church
Melcy Yalexsy Guevara-Barrera, 35, Vienna
Samuel Benitez-Pineda, 34, Arlington
Jose Fredy Delcid, 34, Falls Church

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