Cop Gets 30 Years After Helping Mexican Drug Cartel Smuggle Cocaine and Guns

Cameron Langford | Courthouse News Service

A former Houston policeman convicted of supplying guns, vehicles and intelligence to Zetas cartel members, who trafficked thousands of kilos of cocaine in the United States, was sentenced to 30 years behind bars.

Noe Juarez, of Houston, is a former U.S. Marine who worked for the Houston Police Department for 20 years before a grand jury indicted him in New Orleans Federal Court in April 2015.

Juarez was charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug crime. A federal jury convicted him of both counts in January.

“The conspiracy, spearheaded by co-conspirators and brothers Efrain and Sergio Grimaldo, distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine throughout the United States,” New Orleans U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite said in a statement. “The drugs were supplied to the conspiracy by the Los Zetas drug cartel in Mexico.”

The Grimaldos were part of a Zetas cell that operated out of Monterrey, Mexico.

The Zetas are an offshoot of Mexican security forces, many of whom received U.S. training.

The brothers lived in Houston and had associates drive the cocaine from Houston to Houma, La., where it was sold to a street gang called Up Da Bayou Boyz, court records show.

From Houma, the drugs were shipped onto Jackson, Miss., Pensacola, New York City, Detroit and Baltimore, prosecutors said.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents began investigating the ring in 2006 after they traced a load of cocaine from the Bayou Boyz back to the Grimaldos in Houston, the Houston Chronicle reported.

DEA agent William Johnson wrote an affidavit that portrays Juarez as brazenly corrupt.

“Sergio Grimaldo told police that he bought 10 guns from Juarez, who stockpiled them in his marked Houston police car and sold them out of its trunk at the Houston nightclub where he worked security,” the affidavit states.

The brothers paid Juarez to run license plates because they feared they were being tailed by rival drug dealers and police, according to the charging document.

Sergio Grimaldo told police he paid Juarez $250 to $500 for any license plate or name that Juarez ran through HPD’s databases.

Juarez also bought cars financed in his name for the Grimaldo brothers and even put the insurance policies in his name, according to the case record.

A federal judge in New Orleans sentenced Efrain Grimaldo to 33 and a half years in prison in September 2014 after prosecutors showed a jury he distributed 1,640 kilos of cocaine during the conspiracy.

Sergio Grimaldo will not get that much time because he cooperated with federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. His sentencing is set for Aug. 24.

Published by Courthouse News Service.