A drug trafficking organization’s leader with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel was sentenced to life in prison for smuggling drugs across the border into El Paso and then taking the drugs to Atlanta, officials said.
Jorge Sanchez Morales, 47, was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday, April 6th, in connection with several drug trafficking charges at the Albert Armendariz Sr. Federal Courthouse in Downtown El Paso.
“This sentence serves as another step forward in the U.S. government’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle some of the most dangerous drug trafficking organizations we face,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Jaime Esparza said in a statement. “My office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners, within this district and beyond, to hold accountable those who attempt to poison our communities and carelessly endanger Americans.”
The sentencing comes after an El Paso jury found Sanchez Morales guilty on Nov. 8 on six federal drug trafficking-related charges, court records show. The charges were:
- -Two counts of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute
- -Two counts of conspiracy to import a controlled substance
- -Conspiracy to commit international money laundering
- -Conspiracy to launder monetary instruments
Sanchez Morales was sentenced to life in prison on the four counts involving conspiracy to possess or import controlled substances, according to federal court records. He also was sentenced to 20 years in prison on the money laundering charges.
The sentences will be served concurrently.
Sanchez Morales, also known as “Capulina,” ran a drug trafficking organization from 2002 to 2019, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas officials said. The organization would smuggle drugs from Mexico to El Paso and then move the drugs on to Atlanta.
He worked out of Atlanta trafficking cocaine and other drugs with Sinaloa Cartel operatives, officials said.
Sanchez Morales returned to Mexico in 2014 to run the organization, which would then primarily traffic methamphetamine, often in liquid form, officials said.
Sanchez Morales’ organization was accused of importing liquid meth from Juárez into El Paso. The liquid meth would then be taken to Atlanta hidden in the fuel tanks of semitractors, officials said.
Once in Atlanta, the liquid meth was converted to a crystalline form and distributed. Sanchez Morales oversaw the operation on behalf of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, officials said.
“The men and women of DEA are laser-focused in our mission of defeating the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration El Paso Division Special Agent in Charge Greg Millard said in a statement. “We will continue to tirelessly target these cartels and their associates involved in the manufacture or distribution of methamphetamine and other illicit, synthetic poisons that are killing Americans at record rates.”
According to federal court records, Sanchez Morales is the third person to be sentenced in connection with the drug trafficking organization.
The other men convicted and sentenced were Alan Eduardo Davila-Arroyo and Jaime Pena.
Davila-Arroyo was sentenced on Aug. 30, 2021, to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
Pena was sentenced on Nov. 17, 2021, to more than six years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
An indictment filed against Eduardo Ortiz ‒ a fifth person charged in the case ‒ was dismissed on May 6, court records show.
The final person indicted in the case, Luis Reyes-Perez, was convicted by an El Paso jury on Nov. 8, on one count each of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute and conspiracy to import a controlled substance, court records show.
Reyes-Perez is set to be sentenced on April 24, according to court records.