By Geena Martinez
MIDLAND - New details on a DEA sting in Odessa last week. They busted two men outside of Chili's on drug charges. One of the men is in the country illegally and the DEA considers him a significant drug trafficker in the area.
From Denver City to Midland to Odessa, the DEA was hot on the trail of two men trying to distribute drugs.
It all started last week.
According to a criminal complaint, on October 23, DEA agents were tipped off that a man out of Denver City known as "Peru" was selling and distributing cocaine.
Officials identified Peru as Mario Moreno.
"That's an individual as we were discussing who is moving a significant amount of cocaine in the area," Midland DEA agent, Dante Sorianello, said.
On October 24, the agent got in touch with Moreno who agreed to deliver nine ounces of cocaine.
The complaint said the next day when the agent called Moreno to confirm the deal, someone else answered the phone.
That person was Reyes Vasquez. According to the complaint, Vasquez told the undercover agent that Moreno spoke little English so he would be acting as his interpreter and negotiator.
The complaint said the men agreed to meet at the Warfield Truck Stop but when the undercover agent got here, the men decided they wanted to go somewhere else because there were too may cops in the area.
The undercover then met Moreno and Vasquez at the parking lot in front of Chili's in Odessa.
Moreno showed the agent two bags of cocaine and arrested Vasquez. Moreno fled but was caught in an open field.
The complaint said Moreno was trying to sell the drugs for $850 dollars.
However Dante Sorianello with the Midland DEA said they've seen cocaine prices go even higher in the Basin.
"You could call that due to economics, due to law enforcement efforts, the availability on the streets is not as prevalent as it was so the individuals who have it are charging more right now," Sorianello said.
We're told an ounce is a sizable amount in the drug world.
"The average user quantity sold is perhaps a gram, or even less," Sorianello said. "Each ounce has approximately 28 grams in it."
Meaning Moreno could've had a long client list in the region. But thanks to the work of the DEA, along with the help of local law enforcement agencies, a significant trafficker is off the streets.