Jorge Gutierrez was suspected of leading a group of drug smugglers before his arrest in slayings at the Pink Monkey.
A Manor man charged with killing two people in a May 31 shooting at a strip club in northeastern Travis County has been the target of a major cocaine trafficking investigation since February, according to federal court documents.
Jorge Gutierrez, 28, was suspected of leading a group that smuggled multiple kilogram-loads of cocaine — originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco — from Austin to northern Virginia in recent years, according to a federal affidavit filed by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in federal court Tuesday.
Federal agents and Austin police had been listening to Gutierrez's cell phone calls through a federal wiretap. Five days before the killings at the Pink Monkey Cabaret, officials had passed information gleaned in those calls to Virginia State Police, who seized 7 kilograms of cocaine that was being smuggled to Virginia in a spare tire, the affidavit said. Two people suspected of working for Gutierrez were arrested in that traffic stop.
Gutierrez had flown to Virginia hoping to meet the delivery and sell the drugs but returned to Austin when the shipment never arrived, the affidavit said.
Officials have not alleged that the shootings were related to drug deals. Gutierrez is charged with capital murder in the deaths of stepbrothers Jose Hernandez, 24, and Arturo Rodriguez Jr., 26, at the club, which is at 9705 Reservoir Court, near U.S. 290 and Giles Lane.
An arrest affidavit says that surveillance video from the club showed Gutierrez involved in a fistfight with the stepbrothers. The affidavit said Gutierrez was seen going to a pickup, retrieving a gun and returning to shoot the men.
Witnesses said the gunman fled with others in a Ford F-250 pickup, which deputies later pulled over, the affidavit said. Witnesses identified Gutierrez as the shooter, it said.
The sister of Hernandez and Rodriguez told police that a female customer at the club had accused one of the brothers of stealing her iPhone, which led to the fight and shooting.
Gutierrez's attorney, Thomas Fagerberg, said Gutierrez is facing a federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
It is too early to form any opinions as to what happened in either case, and to do so would be pure speculation at this point, he said.
Gutierrez remains in the Travis County Jail pending trial on the capital murder charge.
Thursday, June 17, 2010