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Federal Indictment in Arkansas Charges 16 People with Connections to Mexican Drug Cartel

More than a dozen alleged criminals are charged in an indictment with a major Mexican drug cartel at the center of it. The suspects are accused of distributing cocaine into Arkansas.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - More than a dozen alleged criminals are charged in an indictment with a major Mexican drug cartel at the center of it. The suspects are accused of distributing cocaine into Arkansas.

The US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas claims the arrests will dismantle a primary supply of cocaine into the state.

A Federal Grand Jury returned the indictment May 2 and filed in US District Court in Little Rock.

In all, the charges include conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine and use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.

16 people with nicknames the likes of "Pudgy," "Chi-Chi" and "Peter Rabbit" are all charged in the indictment for their connection with a Mexican drug ring called the Gulf Cartel.

"This organization is responsible for the transport of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine into and through the state of Arkansas," said the FBI Special Agent in charge of the investigation, Randall Coleman.

They expect at least 200 kilograms of cocaine have made their way into Arkansas with a street value of 10 million dollars.

"Money, that's what drives this," Coleman added.

It's like a family tree, led from the top by a woman called "Big Momma."

The indictment claims that woman, Idalia Ramos Rangel, is a high ranking member in the Gulf Cartel.

Her son, Mohammed Kazam Martinez, also known as "Mo", was a federal inmate in the Bureau of Prisons and recruited inmates in the Federal Correctional Complex at Forrest City, Arkansas, to distribute Rangel's Gulf Cartel cocaine upon their release from prison.

US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Christopher Thyer said, "The family connections are there and his mother is still, we believe, the head of this particular DTO across the boarder in Mexico."

8 of the 16 defendants lived on the streets of central Arkansas. Law enforcement executed arrest warrants at those homes Tuesday morning.

Nearly all of the defendants have extensive criminal histories, Thyer said. Some face mandatory life sentences if convicted because of their criminal histories, he said.

3 Arkansas suspects charged however, remain on the loose. Local officials expect the trio to be difficult to round up but with a handful of their cohorts locked up and the indictment made public, the public should be clear of their potential violence.

"We're hoping that the light shined on this investigation and these indictments will perhaps dissuade them from that direction," said Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas.
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