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Four men living in Axton, linked to Mexican drug cartel indicted

AXTON, VA – A federal grand jury sitting in U.S. District Court in Roanoke has indicted four individuals associated with Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) on federal money laundering charges.

United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and Jesse Fong, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Field Division, announced the charges Friday.

The grand jury returned an indictment Thursday charging Alejandro Escarcega-Avila, Francisco Alvarez-Rosales, Meliton Alvarez-Rosales, and Noe Salvador Becerra-Gonzalez.

All four defendants are citizens of Mexico living locally in Axton and are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

In addition, Escarcega-Avila is charged with one count of illegal reentry of a previously removed alien and one count of illegal possession of a firearm by an illegal alien.

According to the indictment, beginning no later than 2018 and continuing to in or about January 2020, the defendants conspired to conduct financial transactions affecting interstate commerce, specifically the transfer, delivery and exchange of United States Currency, which involved the proceeds from the distribution and manufacturing of controlled substances.

As part of the conspiracy, members and affiliates of CJNG transported cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and other substances, into the United States from Mexico.

CJNG recruited individuals from Mexico to reside in Axton to facilitate the distribution of these controlled substances from CJNG throughout the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

The defendants, and their co-conspirators, received large amounts of United States Currency that was payment for the distribution of these controlled substances, and transmitted that currency to members and affiliates of CJNG in Mexico.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, the Virginia State Police, and the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.  

“A Grand Jury Indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial with the burden on the government to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” the release stated.

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