Las Vegas Sun

November 27, 2014

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Four indicted in alleged heroin-smuggling scheme

Four accused drug traffickers have been indicted by a Clark County grand jury stemming from a 14-pound heroin seizure last month.

Armando Vizcarra, 43, who authorities allege was the intended recipient of the shipment, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and three counts of trafficking in controlled substance, according to a criminal indictment released today. Three alleged co-conspirators also were charged.

The Southern Nevada Drug Task Force operation began March 24 when authorities learned a heroin shipment was en route to Las Vegas, according to an arrest report. The report outlines the following details:

Authorities located the alleged drug-trafficking vehicle — a red Chevy Tahoe — in Needles, Calif., and followed it to Las Vegas, where Vizcarra met the suspected drug couriers, Asucena Barreto-Gutierrez and Jesus Jaimes-Barreto.

Task force members detained the three suspects and discovered about 14 pounds of heroin hidden in the Chevy Tahoe’s transmission housing.

A related search of Vizcarra’s two residences found less than a pound of heroin along with more than $26,000. Authorities also searched the home of Luis Rodriguez, who said he earned at least $300 a week working as a drug runner for Vizcarra. In Rodriguez’s house, they found less than a pound of heroin.

During an interview with detectives, Barreto-Gutierrez admitted she drove from Stockton, Calif., to Mexico for the heroin and then headed to Las Vegas. She expected to be paid $5,000 for delivering the heroin to Vizcarra.

According to the arrest report, Barreto-Gutierrez also told detectives she has been driving drug loads into the United States at least 20 times a year for the past five years. Authorities allege her son, Jaimes-Barreto, also was going to be compensated for helping her transport the heroin.

The indictment charges Rodriguez with one count of conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and two counts of trafficking in controlled substance. Barreto-Gutierrez and Jaimes-Barreto each were charged with single counts of conspiracy to violate Uniform Controlled Substances Act and trafficking in controlled substance.

All four suspects remain in the Clark County Detention Center and are scheduled to make court appearances April 15, according to jail records.

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