Attorney General Carlos Gonella requested nine and a half years for Darío Ramón Cáceres, one of the main defendants for the million-dollar trafficking of almost 1,300 kilos of marijuana from Corrientes in Córdoba in summer 2022.
At the hearing in the Federal Oral Court No. 2, made up of José Fabián Asís, Julián Falcucci and Noel Costa, the instructor requested seven and a half years in prison for another of the accused, Daniel Medina Ramírez, and the acquittal of Claribel Georgina Alexandra Espíndola .
Allegation of the Prosecutor’s Office and requests
Accompanied in the courtroom by his partner, Cáceres appeared anxious before hearing the verdict. “I haven’t slept well for several days,” he commented to the prison guard and told him that he doesn’t know what the other convicted members of the bar did. He has already been in prison for more than a year and eight months. The other two accused are found by video call.
The La Fiel bar asked to speak without answering questions. The alleged drug trafficker tried to get away from the serious accusation.
He explained that he and his family were in Brazil at the time of the marijuana trafficking and that he had no knowledge of anything. “I am only involved in this case just because I am the head of La Fiel,” he stated and said that the Police “lied or exaggerated.”
He also indicated how the team distributes the previous tasks to organize the mobilization of fans both in games in Córdoba and in other provinces.
In turn, prosecutor Gonella requested the acquittal of the accused, which was supported by defender Rodrigo Altamira, who requested freedom, so she would be acquitted. The instructor raised the existence of an “insurmountable doubt” because there were not “sufficient” elements to pursue her accusation for her alleged participation in the gang, since there were no follow-ups and wiretaps in which she could be involved.
But he pointed out, instead, against the bar and the other defendant, whom he considered part of the criminal gang due to their “relevant roles.”
In this sense, he mentioned that Medina Ramírez was the “supplier and the one who guarded the drugs” from Corrientes to Córdoba, for which he requested seven and a half years in prison. He also mentioned that the latter had been seen in pre-trafficking meetings with Talleres bars and that he had been seen arriving in Córdoba on the day of the drug seizure.
Gonella compared Medina Ramírez’s way of behaving in Corrientes, where he is from, as that of a “Godfather movie.” Although he mentioned that in that province he is being investigated for alleged money laundering from drug trafficking with the purchase of horses (something “typical of laundering”), in the case in Córdoba he is not charged with that. But the prosecutor sought to connect him with maneuvers linked to drugs, a suspicion for which he is accused in this city.
Jorge Perano, Cáceres’ defender, asked for the bar’s acquittal, but clarified that if the court did not see it that way, it should sentence him to a sentence for criminal conspiracy (sentencing him to the minimum sentence, ordering his release for the time he has been detained). He maintained that there is no “binding and concrete evidence” that could be attributed to drug trafficking.
The defender questioned the testimony of the federal police officer who investigated the case and who considered Cáceres the “boss” of the gang. “There is no proof,” said Perano and described as “partial” the prosecutor’s view that accused the La Fiel leader of being a drug leader.
He reiterated that the other 13 convicts admitted their participation in trafficking but not Cáceres. “There is no conclusive, clear and irrefutable evidence,” she added and stressed that the witnesses did not link the bar with the drugs. “He did not give orders (linked to drug trafficking businesses),” he said, but he did in the operation of the bar.
He also excused the accused for having constantly changed cell phones (which the prosecutor attributed to someone who wants to hide something) in his work as head of La Fiel.
Finally, Medina Ramírez’s defense requested acquittal, but alternatively conspiracy (a minor participation) if he is convicted. He maintained that the accusation lacks “orphan evidence” and that the figures cited (transportation and marketing of drugs) could not be proven. “Participation is not accredited,” he said.
Another 13 convicted
Although the voluminous case originally also included 13 others involved in the maneuvers, All of them agreed to various sentences in an abbreviated trial. made weeks ago.
In this way, the 13 defendants admitted the facts and the TOF2 sentenced Sergio Omar a “Tomate” Busso to eight years, Cristian Ramón Chávez Reyes, Maximiliano Romero and Ramón Horacio Núñez to four years in prison; Ángel López and Leandro Vallejos, four years and eight months; and Ángel Emmanuel Valdez, to five years.
In turn, Claudio Ezequiel Gómez, Juan Ignacio “Rambo” La Costa, Rita Andrea “Pato” Cabral and Manuel Alejandro “Chaito” or “Taito” Benítez were also sentenced to six years. However, due to a previous sentence, Cabral’s sentence was set at six and two months, while Benítez’s was increased to 16 and a half years (due to a previous conviction).
Finally, Carlos Horacio “Gusy” or “Gusano” Páez and Mauro Alejandro “Tuerto” Peralta received eight years in prison each. Seven vehicles, jewelry, $1,200 and Chilean and Argentine pesos were seized.
The gigantic marijuana trade
The “hot” line from “Gusy”, a member of La Fiel (the Talleres bar), was the trigger. From the telephone interventions carried out on his cell phone in a drug case (ordered by federal judge No. 2, Alejandro Sánchez Freytes) in October 2021, communications with “Tomate” Busso (another member of the bar) emerged. regarding possible connections with drug trafficking and drug supply.
This led to the breakdown of the original cause and the opening of a new investigation. “Gusy” would have maintained dialogues with an employee of the Municipality of Córdoba and with other people regarding drug trafficking businesses and his possible connection with the role of members of La Fiel.
For the judge, also intervening in the case for the 1,431 kilos of marijuana, suspicions not only hovered over Cáceres, Busso and Páez, but also over a fourth suspect: “Tuerto” Peralta.
Together, they would have formed a group dedicated to the logistics of drug trafficking and marketing. Like Cáceres (convicted of threats against the president of the “T”, Andrés Fassi, and members of the Board of Directors), Busso had accumulated a sentence for the murder of Juan Roberto Pinto.
In the new drug case, the suspects acquired a large volume of drugs from different suppliers for subsequent distribution. “I go with Darío, with ‘Tomate’ and ‘Gusano,’” Peralta said in a listening session. “’Gusano’ has been with me since year zero. I’m dripping, I’m trafficking. I go with Darío because I make money,” he added.
In another intervention, Peralta – he called himself Cáceres’s “right hand” – described him as the “organizer” and mentioned a meeting in which “there were hitmen, everything. It looked like a Pablo Escobar movie. You don’t know, there were hitmen, hired killers, there was the one who served you the ‘alita’ (cocaine) in your nose…”
In other conversations with Páez, Peralta spoke of “business” and mentioned his relationship with Páez himself, with Busso and with Cáceres: “Me, with you, Omar and Darío, no one else. We are a band (…). Four heads are better than 10″.
The then head of La Fiel would have had “contacts” allegedly linked to the drug world in the north of the country, which generated suspicions about possible “businesses” related to narcotics.
Although in December Páez alluded to an alleged important drug business, it was only in January – a month before the seizure of the 1,431 kilos of marijuana – when data emerged about the probable arrival of a shipment and the appearance of new “actors.” in the plot, among them, “Pato” Cabral (with a history of robbery).
Prosecutor Enrique Senestrari warned of meetings between Busso, Páez, Peralta, Cáceres and “Rambo” La Costa. In this way, the first four would have drawn up a plan to transport several kilos of drugs from Corrientes to Córdoba for subsequent distribution and marketing.
Cáceres denied the accusation and stressed that on the day the shipment was seized he was in Brazil, although the judge did not believe his attempt to disassociate himself. Despite there being no records of conversations with the other defendants, he considered that his role was “predominant” when he was mentioned by Páez, Busso and Peralta about certain jobs, the money that they would have given him and the meetings to plan and finalize the traffic.
Likewise, he considered that Peralta (sentenced for robbery and other crimes), Busso and Páez led maneuvers in organization, commerce and transportation, added to certain disturbing data: Busso and Páez had police links to access vehicle ownership reports. , while they were alert to possible judicial/police investigations against them.
To obtain the drugs, “Pato” Cabral acted as a “bridge” between the Cáceres gang and another criminal cell dedicated to drug trafficking: “Rambo” La Costa, Gómez, Benítez (falsely posing as a certain “Alfredo Renzo Ruíz” , which generated initial confusion) and Espíndola (both from Santa Fe).
The latter would have held meetings with Núñez, Medina Ramírez, Vallejos and Romero, all alleged marijuana suppliers from Corrientes, to establish the price of the drug, the quantity and quality, and the method of transportation and subsequent delivery.
Together, they intervened in an organized manner in the trade of a ton of marijuana distributed in 1,761 wrappers greased with truck oil, usually used for the purpose of evading police controls, camouflaged with 100 bags of sawdust in an Iveco truck that left from Corrientes.
The accused members of La Fiel bought the drugs from the people of Corrientes for 45 million pesos (which would have originally come from Paraguay) through the efforts of “Pato”, La Costa (accused at the time of wounding with a shot to the head to a child in Córdoba), Gómez (with a record), Benítez (convicted of homicide and robbery, and suspected of another crime) and Espíndola.
The “drop” of the drugs to Córdoba would have been coordinated by Núñez, Medina Ramírez (sentenced for another narcotics case), Vallejos and Romero. To “move it,” they hired the “services” of Chávez Reyes and López from Corrientes.
Aboard the Iveco, they “unloaded” the drugs in Circunvalación, where their “bosses” (in a Toyota) and Gómez, Espínola, La Costa and Benítez (in a Cronos) joined them as “custodians” of the cargo in a caravan.
Once they arrived at the Orellano S/N transit warehouse, in the 25 de Mayo neighborhood, they entered the truck and unloaded the 1,761 “bricks.” The premises (masked under the façade of a metallurgical factory) were rented by the “Rambo” gang to transform it into the distribution and sales operations center – among them – of all the marijuana.
On February 18, 2022, to remove part of the drugs from the warehouse, the “Rambo” group would have hired Valdez. He left with 933 “bricks” in a Trafic – escorted by Cronos – towards Route 9, where they were later detained.
The second shipment – 448 packages – was “moved” by an unidentified man aboard a Kangoo. Upon reaching Route 9 with an undetermined direction, he observed the officers, quickly got out of the vehicle and fled.
Simultaneously, Páez and Busso (in a Vento) and Peralta and “Pato” Cabral (in a Civic) could not extract the remaining 380 pieces of marijuana from the warehouse, since they were intercepted on old route 9 in the direction of Toledo, nearby. of the deposit.