Downtown Memphis aspires to be a hip and happening cosmopolitan place, but as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
Bert Gamboa dealt cocaine, hip-hop, and Mexican food from a club called The Complex at 704 Madison in an upstart section of downtown called The Edge, according to a federal complaint.
On March 5, 2003, federal narcs secretly videotaped a $170,914 payoff to Gamboa at The Complex, according to an affidavit made public Wednesday. A confidential informant took a childrens backpack full of cash out of the bed of a Ford F-350 pickup truck and gave it to middleman Jose Javier Lopez Vizcarra who walked across Madison Avenue with the bag over his shoulder and put it in the trunk of a Honda Accord parked on Orleans Street. The money was paid to Gamboa, according to the affidavit.
Drug agents secretly taped and followed what they describe as the Gamboa Drug Organization from 2002 until September of 2006. Bert Gamboa, 33, was arrested this week and taken into custody. The alleged drug ring moved millions of dollars worth of cocaine in Memphis, including one load of 150 kilograms worth $2.5 million in 2002 using a tractor-trailer rig. An Arkansas Highway Patrol stop of the truck led to the undercover investigation that relied on the cooperation of dealers Victor Garcia and Jesus Corral. Bert Gamboas cousins, Saul Gamboa and Eduardo Gamboa of Chicago, were also involved and have pleaded guilty to distributing 100 kilograms of cocaine.
The Complex has been written up in The Memphis Flyer and The Commercial Appeal as a restaurant and music club. The Edge is an area east of downtown near Danny Thomas that is trying to become a haven for artists, restaurants, clubs, and theater.