Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Jovita’s owner, accused drug ring leader dead at 64

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The founder and owner of Jovita’s restaurant who was indicted on federal drug charges died Wednesday, shortly after being released on bond.

According to his attorney Ben Florey, Amado “Mayo” Pardo died at the age of 64 from a cocktail of medical issues.

Pardo was arrested on federal drug charges last summer. A federal raid in June revealed Pardo was running a heroin ring, using his popular Mexican restaurant and music venue as a front. Authorities said they seized 98 grams of heroin, two weapons and $14,000 in cash during the raid. Fifteen others were arrested in the incident, most of which pleaded guilty in December.

Florey maintains his client was a productive Austin resident, despite the charges against him.

"He has not had any trouble with the law and has been a good citizen of the community for 30 years," he said.

The trial for the ailing Pardo was set for Feb. 11, but was recently postponed. He was released on bond, with condition that he must live at home or in a court approved hospital.

Florey said Pardo suffered from complications involving his liver, cancer, hepatitis and Parkinson’s disease.

Pardo -- who was also a member of the Texas Syndicate -- has two murder convictions, as well as a federal weapons conviction.

Jovita’s on South First Street has been closed since the raid.

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