Conexión Del Río/Staff Report

DEL RIO – The Cardona brothers, owners and operators of a body shop in Eagle Pass, Texas, received each an 18-year sentence in a federal prison, for their roles in a cocaine distribution scheme in the Eagle Pass area. They received their sentence on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 in a U.S. court in Del Rio, Texas.

The Cardona brothers owned Real Street Paint and Body Shop in Eagle Pass. They were found guilty of charges related to distributing approximately 6 kilograms of cocaine in the Eagle Pass area.

The joint announcement was made by the offices of the U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Texas, FBI – San Antonio Division, DEA – Houston Division, and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge in San Antonio.

United States District Judge Alia Moses handed down a 216-month-federal-prison sentence to 37-year-old Xavier Cardona. Judge Moses handed down the same prison sentence to his 33-year-old brother, Michael Cardona. In addition to the prison terms, Judge Moses ordered that the defendants pay a $372,320 money judgment and be placed on supervised release for a period of 5 years after completing their prison terms.

On October 23, 2015, jurors found the defendants guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine. They also found Michael Cardona guilty of possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine.

Evidence presented in trial revealed that from January 2009 until April 2014, the Cardonas used Real Street Paint and Body Shop and Michael’s residence to sell cocaine and launder drug proceeds. The Cardona brothers used the proceeds from their cocaine distribution to fuel their lifestyle of custom built modified cars that they showed at various car shows in Texas and to buy and remodel homes.

During recorded phone calls played at trial, Michael Cardona stated that he provided cocaine to other dealers already packaged and cut so that it would move more quickly. Testimony and evidence showed that the Cardonas also employed firearms in their drug trafficking business. A search of the residences of both brothers resulted in the seizure of $162,795 in currency, approximately 160 packages of cocaine ready for distribution and five weapons.

Both defendants have remained in federal custody since their arrests on April 23, 2014.

The case resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations and United States Border Patrol. Also assisting in the investigation was the Texas Department of Public Safety – Criminal Investigations Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Ralph Paradiso, Lewis Thomas and Diana Cruz-Zapata prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.