DeLand man arrested in drug distribution, money laundering operation tied to Mexican…

Federal agents said a DeLand man arrested Friday distributed drugs in Volusia County and then transported the money to a Mexican drug group in Arizona.

Wilfredo Arroyo and an accomplice, Patricia Catron, conducted the drug operation in Volusia and the Central Florida area between Nov. 1, 2015 and Oct. 21, 2016.

Arroyo was charged with conspiracy to traffic marijuana 25 pounds or more, conspiracy to commit money laundering $100,000 or more and the unlawful use of a two-way communication device to facilitate the commission of a felony. Arroyo was being held Sunday at the Volusia County Branch jail without bail.

It was not immediately clear Sunday if Catron had been arrested.

According to reports, the Federal Bureau of Investigations Safe Street Task Force, which includes a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office investigator, asked Volusia and federal judges to grant authorizations to intercept the suspects’ telephone calls from members of the Mexican Transnational Criminal Organization.

Court documents did not name the specific gang affiliation, but U.S. Drug Enforcement documents list the notorious Sinaloa Cartel as the dominant transnational organization in Central Florida.

Task force investigators listened to telephone calls from Arroyo and Catron between September and October 2016 as they chatted with Josue Hernandez, who guided them to Arizona, transporting money believed to be the proceeds from drug sales, investigative reports said.

Hernandez was arrested Oct. 21, 2016 in Lake County and admitted that he and Arroyo were involved in a long-term marijuana trafficking organization that shipped hundreds of pounds of marijuana from Mexico to Central Florida, federal agents said.

According to reports, Hernandez also said he and his accomplices arranged the return of more than $100,000 in cash — the proceeds from marijuana sales to the drug trafficking organization.

Agents surveilling Arroyo and Catron executed a search warrant at Arroyo’s Forest Ridge Road home in DeLand and found 42 pounds of marijuana and pieces of metal containers similar to those used by Hernandez to transport marijuana, agents said.

Agents also found a buried freezer at the home used to store drugs, federal investigators said.