Dallas

A new arrest involving nightclub empire where cocaine was sold in bathrooms

Authorities seized nearly $150,000 from two men at Dallas Love Field this week that they believe is tied to the nightclub empire formerly run by Alfredo Hinojosa where cocaine was sold in club bathrooms, including in Fort Worth.

One of the men, identified in a federal probable cause affidavit as Joel Camarena of California, was arrested Tuesday while in possession of $100,000. The man traveling with Camarena carried an additional $48,050. All the cash was seized after a canine unit alerted to the odor of drugs on the bags containing the money, according to the affidavit.

The other man said the cash he was carrying belonged to Camarena. According to the affidavit, Camarena told a Dallas police officer working with an FBI task force that some of the money came from a man named "Chava" for a performance Sunday from regional Latino singer-songwriter Gerardo Ortiz at Dallas' Far West nightclub.

Authorities believe "Chava" is an alias for Martin Salvador Rodriguez, who is under federal indictment for his role as a club manager under Hinojosa.

Hinojosa ran more than 40 nightclubs across the state, including Far West nightclub in Dallas and the OK Corral club in south Fort Worth. He pleaded guilty in December to taking in more than $100 million from 2014 to 2016 in those clubs, where he allowed drug dealers to sell cocaine in the bathrooms.

Hinojosa pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage a drug premises and conspiracy to structure transactions to evade reporting requirements, according to court documents. He agreed to forfeit $200,000, a Ferrari, a Range Rover, a Hummer H2, a Mercedes-Benz and a motor home.

Camarena told investigators at Love Field that he is the tour manager for Ortiz, and that the $148,050 came from performances at clubs in San Antonio, Houston and at Far West in Dallas. Authorities say over $115,000 of the money was not properly accounted for on federal reporting forms.

Camarena is charged with conspiracy to evade federal reporting requirements. A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. His lawyer, Fort Worth-based Willliams Biggs, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667; @MCTinez817

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