A criminal complaint has been filed in United States District Court in Panama City, Florida charging eight defendants with conspiring to distribute large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Four of these defendants also are charged with federal firearms offenses involving the possession and to transporting of 50 fully automatic AK-47 machine guns.

The criminal complaint alleges that between April 2009, and May 28, 2010, Ramiro Gomez, 33, Julian Garcia-Penaloza, 27, Santiago Valdez-Gomez, 25, Pasqual Montor-Torres, 28, and Florencio Barrios-Hernandez, 26, all of Mexico, as well as Jose Barajas, 53, and Maria Cifuentes-Espinoza, 35, both of Texas, and an individual known as “El Puma,” conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.

If convicted of conspiracy, the defendants face a mandatory minimum of 10 years’ up to a maximum of life imprisonment.

The criminal complaint also charges that, on May 28, 2010, Ramiro Gomez and Julian Garcia-Penaloza both conspired to possess 50 fully automatic AK-47 machine guns and that they received and facilitated the transportation of those machine guns in violation of U.S. export laws.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to possess the machine guns and a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment for violation of the export laws.

In addition, the criminal complaint charges that, on May 28, 2010, Ramiro Gomez, Julian Garcia-Penaloza, Santiago Valdez-Gomez, and Florencio Barrios-Hernandez possessed unregistered firearms, namely 10 fully automatic AK-47 machine guns.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment on this charge. The charges stem from a long-term investigation involving multiple trips by the defendants between Florida, Alabama, and Texas to transport cocaine, methamphetamine, and drug proceeds, as well as cash to pay for the machine guns.

Defendants Julian Garcia-Penaloza, Santiago Valdez-Gomez, Pasqual Montor-Torres, and Florencio Barrios-Hernandez had their initial appearances yesterday in federal court in Panama City before United States Magistrate Judge Larry A. Bodiford. A probable-cause and detention hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday, June 7th at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Bodiford in Panama City.

Source: WJHG

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