CRYSTAL CITY, Texas – Federal, state and local authorities have arrested and charged two dozen people with conspiracy to distribute cocaine in the Crystal City, La Pryor, Carrizo Springs and San Antonio areas, U.S. attorneys said.
An eight-count indictment unsealed Friday charges those arrested, along with 44-year-old Gabriel "Gabby" Martinez, who was already in custody prior to Thursday, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. U.S. attorneys said the 35-year-old alleged ringleader, George Alamillo, of San Antonio, was among those arrested.
The indictment alleges that from February 2014 to September 2014 the two dozen arrested participated in a cocaine distribution conspiracy. During the investigation, authorities seized 1 kilogram of cocaine, 660 pounds of marijuana, 15 firearms -- including 10 AK-47s and one MAC-10 semi-automatic pistol -- $33,000 in cash and three vehicles, according to U.S. attorneys.
"The success of this operation exemplifies the outstanding teamwork among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the Eagle Pass region," stated Drug Enforcement Agency special agent in charge Joseph M. Arabit. "(The) DEA will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in order to improve the quality of life in the communities throughout this area."
Those arrested face between five and 40 years, or up to 20 years, in federal prison upon conviction for the drug conspiracy charge, authorities said.
In addition to the drug charges, several of those arrested -- including Gerardo Martinez, Gabriel Martinez, Claudio Jimenez and Javier De la Rosa -- are charged with knowingly transporting undocumented aliens. U.S. attorneys said each defendant faces up to 10 years incarceration upon conviction.
Authorities said Domingo Aguilar also faces a single charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a drug user. The indictment alleges that on June 10, Aguilar was unlawfully in possession of a .22 caliber American Tactical Rifle. Aguilar faces up to 10 years of incarceration upon conviction.
Martha Perez also faces a misprision of felony charge. She allegedly was aware of the drug distribution conspiracy and had possession of a cellphone used by a co-defendant to facilitate the operation, yet denied ever possessing the phone to authorities, U.S. attorneys said. Perez faces up to three years of incarceration upon conviction.
"This (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) criminal investigation worked by Homeland Security Investigations and DEA dealt a major blow to a south Texas criminal organization that is made up several criminal networks," said special agent in charge Janice Ayala, of HSI San Antonio.
"The Zavala County Sheriff's Office is committed to working with our federal and state law enforcement partners to identify and remove drug trafficking from our communities," said Zavala County Sheriff Eusevio Salinas. "Investigations of this scale provide a positive impact on our citizens and make our communities safer. I would like to thank the DEA Eagle Pass Office and HSI for their commitment to the citizens of Zavala County and our state."