The fugitive identified Wednesday as the man accused of ordering the June 9 shooting that wounded retired Red Sox legend David Ortiz in Santo Domingo also faces federal drug trafficking charges linked to a major case in Texas dubbed “Operation Wrecking Ball,” records show.
The suspect, Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez, 43, was charged in an indictment filed in Texas’s southern district in November 2018. He’s identified in the document, initially filed in November 2018 and unsealed in March, as Victor Hugo Gomez.
He’s one of 56 suspects facing charges linked to the sprawling drug ring based in south Texas.
Prosecutors said they investigated the ring for three-and-a-half years before moving in on the group in November. The ring, comprised of seven separate “distribution cells,” moved large amounts of cocaine and heroin from Colombia and Mexico through Houston en route to Atlanta, Buffalo, New York City, Miami, New Orleans, and Norfolk, Va., prosecutors said. The feds said in March that about $3.1 million in illicit funds had been seized.
An indictment in the case says most “of the distribution cells . . . were composed of persons from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.”
Vasquez faces four separate counts of possession with intent to distribute 20 kilograms of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute 10 kilograms of cocaine, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 1 kilogram of heroin, and conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally conduct financial transactions in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce that involved proceeds from a specified unlawful activity, records show.
Few details of Vasquez’s alleged conduct are contained in the indictment, beyond boilerplate language laying out the charges.
The filing says Vasquez and two other suspects possessed with intent to distribute about 20 kilos of “a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine” in November 2017. Vasquez and another man also allegedly possessed about 10 kilograms of “a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine” between June 29 and July 6 of 2017, the indictment says.
In addition, the indictment alleges, Vasquez and two other men conspired between February 2016 and April 2018 to conduct “financial transactions . . . well knowing that the financial transactions involved the proceeds of” drug trafficking.
In December, federal prosecutors in Texas had requested the issuance of an arrest for Vasquez and asked that he be detained “without bond.” Vasquez hasn’t been apprehended.
When authorities announced in March that the indictment had been unsealed, Ryan K. Patrick, the US attorney for Texas’s southern district, said in a statement that the Justice Department “is committed to disrupting the work of international cartels and other drug trafficking organizations.”
In the same release, Will R. Glaspy, an official with the DEA, commended the “many law enforcement agencies dedicated to protecting our communities in the greater Houston/Galveston area from those who prey on them.”