Officials identify 5 men arrested after chop shop raids linked to Jalisco Nueva Generación cartel

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Saturday, April 6, 2024
5 men arrested, charged in chop shop raids in north Houston tied to Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, officials say
Officials say several of the suspects have ties to the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico. Law enforcement confirmed the identities of the five men arrested on Thursday.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Law enforcement confirmed the identities of the five men arrested Thursday in connection with the raids across Harris County regarding a stolen vehicle investigation.

Law enforcement says several of the suspects have ties to the notorious and dangerous cartel, the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, also known as CJNG.

Gary Charles and Darius Charles are in custody in Fort Bend County on felony theft charges. Jesus Gutierrez-Escamilla, Bernardo Fernandez-Pereyda, and Edgar Bravo are facing similar crimes.

Law enforcement say following months of investigation, they do believe some of the men have ties to the CJNG. At this point, they won't elaborate on how they came to the determination. Investigators say they found more than a dozen vehicles at the raid sites, totaling more than $1 million.

"Once we determine and process those vehicles, we will be returning them back to their owners," Major Saul Suarez of the Harris County Sheriff's Office said.

SEE ALSO: Harris Co. deputies raid chop shop and 2 other cartel-related spots, sheriff's office says

Since the news came out, people across our community have reached out to ABC13 and chatted on social media, wondering if maybe their stolen vehicle was found in this law enforcement bust.

The sheriff's office confirms investigators will determine through the vehicle identification number and license plate to contact owners and operators. Meanwhile, the investigation into who is responsible and for how long this has been going on is in the hands of HCSO.

"Several of the suspects also have ties to this cartel. In this particular case, it's the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación," Suarez said.

Nathan Jones, an associate professor at Sam Houston State University, says the CJNG is one of the most powerful cartels in Mexico.

"Primarily, they try to be very low profile in the United States, so I'm interested in finding out more information from law enforcement about why they believe the CJNG is connected to these chop shops and what those actual linkages are," Jones said.

Earlier this week, the CJNG made headlines following 50 drug and money laundering indictments for 41 people. In fact, 16 of them are on the run with some ties to Houston.

"The CJNG is not just confined to or in Jalisco. It's in Houston. It's folks that are in Houston," U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani said.

At this point, law enforcement won't say if any of the men arrested on Thursday in the stolen vehicle sting operation are connected to the federal fugitive search by federal authorities. It's all under investigation.

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