It appears that 23 names remain blacked out on the indictment. All defendants are charged in a drug trafficking conspiracy, which prosecutors allege involved violent crimes and money laundering, and face life in prison if convicted.
Six defendants were seated in the courtroom's gallery, two in each row, kept at opposite ends of the benches. All were wearing prison uniforms, most of them bright orange.
Three more sat past the bar with the attorneys and court staff, including Edward Carreon Ibarra and Aurora Del Bosque, the only female defendant named so far, who faces a drug conspiracy charge and one count of accessory after the fact.
Carreon bore the marks of a beating a family member said he received at the hands of other inmates in a CCA facility. Cuts were visible on his head.
His attorney, Jesus M. Dominguez, said after Thursday's status conference that Carreon's beating was a "misunderstanding," and that his client only received a few bumps and scrapes and an injured arm.
Carreon was treated at the CCA facility, Dominguez said.
"The marshals are doing the best they can for him," he said.
A spokesperson from the CCA Laredo Processing Center said Wednesday that none of the facility's inmates had been transported to the hospital.
Seated in the gallery during the status conference, a routine procedure, was Gabriel Cardona Ramirez, a convicted murderer who prosecutors say was a Zeta hit man operating in Laredo.
Cardona, who has pleaded guilty in state district court to five murders that took place on this side of the Rio Grande, is implicated in those murders and two killings in Nuevo Laredo, according to the indictment.
Alvarez, prosecutor Angel Moreno and attorneys representing the defendants worked out housekeeping matters, including setting an August deadline for plea agreements.
Moreno said he is still waiting on three defendants who are in custody elsewhere, two of whom he expects to arrive in Laredo today.
(Jason Buch may be reached at 728-2547 or by e-mail at email@example.com)http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19517687&BRD=2290&PAG=461&dept_id=569392&rfi=6