The former owner of a chain of taco restaurants convicted in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in federal prison.
Luis Morales, 41, the former owner of Mr. Taco and Savor Food & Spirits, ran a local drug trafficking organization that distributed “many kilograms of cocaine” in Fox Valley between 2014 and 2020, according to the bureau of the US Attorney for the East. District of Wisconsin.
A lengthy investigation by federal, state and local authorities determined that Morales traveled frequently to Chicago, where he obtained large amounts of cocaine, and also made frequent trips to Mexico and Colombia. Mr. Taco’s location in Kimberly was often used to distribute and accept payments for cocaine.
Police stopped Morales’ vehicle on December 2, 2020, near Fond du Lac and, under the floor behind the driver’s seat, found 2 kilograms – over 4 pounds – of cocaine, according to the criminal complaint. Investigators found 8 kilograms of cocaine and $80,000 at the Chicago location where Morales told them he made the purchase.
Police also searched several residences and all of Morales’ restaurants and found cocaine, cash and additional firearms. Evidence established that Morales had direct ties and confirmed contacts with Cartel Jalisco New Generation, a violent Mexican cartel.
Morales was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Griesbach, who pointed out that Morales was “driven by greed and profiting from the addictions of others,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Morales will spend 10 years on probation after serving his prison sentence. Greisbach also ordered Morales to confiscate $150,000 in addition to approximately $145,000 that has already been seized and forfeited.