Eleven individuals appeared in court today, following arrests in a multi-district investigation focused on a Mexican drug organization. Rufus Daniel (“R.D.”) Curington, Jr. (70), Charles A. Armstrong, (56), and Joseph Kevin Jeter (43), all of Vernon, Florida; James Hardesty Moore (71) of Panama City, Florida; Jaime Rodriguez (41) of Orlando, Florida; Daniel Nunez (35), John Paul Walker (44), Alberto Gomez (25), Jorge Martinez (34), Jesus Antonio Gonzalez, 46, and Alejandro Maya (30), all of McAllen, Texas, are alleged to have moved thousands of pounds of marijuana from McAllen, Texas, to drug stash houses north of Panama City, Florida, in Washington County, and from those stash houses to the Jacksonville and Orlando areas. The arrests were announced today by Pamela C. Marsh, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
R.D. Curington, Jr., Charles A. Armstrong, Joseph Kevin Jeter, and James Hardesty Moore were charged by criminal complaint in the Northern District of Florida with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Jaime Rodriguez is facing drug charges in the Middle District of Florida, and Daniel Nunez, John Paul Walker, Alberto Gomez, Jorge Martinez, Jesus Antonio Gonzalez, and Alejandro Maya are facing drug charges in the Southern District of Texas.
The affidavit supporting the Northern District of Florida criminal complaint alleges that the drug organization used tractor-trailers to regularly send loads of marijuana, weighing thousands of pounds, from McAllen, Texas, to Vernon, Florida, where marijuana was off-loaded at drug stash houses controlled by Curington and Jeter. According to the affidavit, once the marijuana was off-loaded, Curington took hundreds of pounds of marijuana, which Currington and Armstrong distributed in the Panama City area to Moore and others. The affidavit further alleges that the remainder of the marijuana was sent to central Florida for further distribution. Moreover, the affidavit alleges that money from the sale of the marijuana in northern and central Florida was taken by members of the organization to the Vernon stash houses, where it was collected for transportation to the organization in McAllen.
The arrests followed a coordinated takedown by law enforcement in McAllen, Bay, and Washington Counties, as well as in Orlando. The affidavit alleges that on February 5, 2012, the organization sent a tractor-trailer to Vernon, Florida, to off-load the marijuana to Curington and Armstrong and to collect over $400,000 in drug proceeds from prior sales. The affidavit further alleges that Jeter offered his property for use to off-load the marijuana from the tractor-trailer in exchange for $10,000 to $20,000. On February 6, 2012, law enforcement executed search warrants on Jeter’s property, Curington’s residence, Armstrong’s residence, and Moore’s residence. On Jeter’s property, law enforcement found the tractor-trailer and over 2700 pounds of marijuana, which had been off-loaded into a shed on Jeter’s property. At Curington’s residence, law enforcement seized numerous firearms and over $156,000 in cash. At Armstrong’s residence, law enforcement seized over $431,000 and 22 firearms. At Moore’s residence, law enforcement seized 8 firearms and over $28,000.
The initial appearances on the criminal complaint in the Northern District of Florida and the removal hearings for the defendants under complaint in the Southern District of Texas and the Middle District of Florida were held today, before Magistrate Judge Larry A. Bodiford at the United States Courthouse in Panama City, Florida.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, together with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and local law enforcement agencies in the Orlando and McAllen, Texas areas. In the Northern District of Florida, the case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gayle E. Littleton.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty in a court of law.