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Cocaine, weapons, kidnapping: West Texas drug lord awaits trial in Midland

Valeriano is listed as one of the DEA's most wanted fugitives. He's even been linked to the disappearance of an Odessa man.

Tatum Guinn (News West 9), Kirsten Geddes

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Published: 9:57 PM CST January 24, 2020
Updated: 7:59 PM CST January 27, 2020

A man with known ties to a Mexican drug cartel that has been wanted by federal authorities for nearly eight years has been caught.

Benjamin Valeriano, Jr. is being held in the Midland County Jail without bond. He was arrested January 4th 2020 by US Marshals in connection to a 2012 drug trafficking case.

He's accused of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to manufacture and import cocaine, laundering of monetary instruments, firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to import marijuana.

An indictment was originally issued for Valeriano and 16 other people in January of 2012 in connection to a large DEA drug operation. That indictment grew to include 26 people connected to the drug operation in May of 2012. 

Court documents state that the group was connected to a large drug trafficking operation, making, transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana throughout West Texas from 2009 until 2012. 

Documents also attach the group to money laundering and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

As a result of the charges brought forth in 2012, the group forfeited several vehicles and weapons.