Mexican Drug Ring Indicted

Thursday, April 3rd 2008, 10:26 pm
By: News On 6

A Mexican drug ring accused of shipping loads of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine to Tulsa, has been indicted.  The investigation lasted two and a half years and was called Operation Icepack. 

News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports agents say the Bonilla family brought drugs from Juarez, Mexico, through El Paso, Texas to Tulsa for storage before selling them.

To read the 46 page indictment is like reading a movie script, of a drug kingpin running a family operation that's moving hundreds of kilos of drugs and making at least $6 million in cash, hiding all the stuff in hidden compartments on the way from Mexico to Tulsa, before it was sold on our streets.

Federal prosecutors say the drug cartel was run by two brothers, Manuel Bonilla from Mexico, who's still on the run and Mario Bonilla who was the Tulsa connection.

Nine others are also charged, including the Bonilla brothers' mother and step-father for using a house at 800 North Rockford, as a major drug stash house.

The indictment says Manuel Bonilla made at least 15 trips on Southwest Airlines in two years from Mexico to the U.S. and that's not counting flights made by other members of the group or the trips made by car across the border.

Records show many kilos of cocaine, meth and marijuana were driven from Mexico to Tulsa, stashed in places like truck engines and axles and even gas tanks.

It says they had a trailer with an altered floor that was used to transport money and drugs in a secret compartment.

It says then even got caught carrying $119,000 in cash hidden in furniture and clothing during one trip.

The indictment says a Warehouse Market parking lot was a popular place for the drug runners to meet with the drug dealers, swapping cocaine and meth for cash.

The two-year long investigation involved the tapping of cell phones and the capturing of text messages, that discussed things like measuring drugs, pricing them and distributing them.

Agents say the drug traffickers even used code words for the drugs to avoid capture, like snow white for cocaine, little windows for methamphetamine and little girls for marijuana.

Eight of the people indicted are in custody; three are still on the loose.

This investigation was massive and involved ATF, IRS, Immigration, TPD and DEA.

The people charged haven't been found guilty, but, if they are, could face years in federal prison and millions in fines.