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Prosecution of Methamphetamine Drug Trafficking Organization Results in Lengthy Federal Prison Sentences and Significant Cash Seizures

APR 02 (LUBBOCK, Texas) -The last defendants convicted in an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation targeting the Simon Chavez Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO), have been sentenced.  That DTO was responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in Lubbock, Texas, and surrounding areas.  The operation resulted in significant seizures of methamphetamine, three vehicles and more than $313,000 in cash.  The announcement was made today by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

On March 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings sentenced Simon Orlando Chavez, Jr. to the statutory maximum of 240 months in federal prison.  Chavez pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Judge Cummings also sentenced Jimmy Cordova, who pleaded guilty to the same offense, to 188 months in federal prison.

“Targeting drug organizations that have infiltrated north Texas and jeopardized the safety and security of our communities continues to be a priority in this district,” said U.S. Attorney Saldaña.  “I commend the dedicated investigative efforts of the DEA and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), who were assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Lubbock Police Department, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety.”
           
“The convictions of Simon Orlando Chavez, Jr. and his co-conspirators are indicative of DEA’s continued commitment to fully identify, investigate and bring to justice drug trafficking organizations determined to make a living on the backs of addiction,” said Daniel R. Salter, Special Agent in Charge of DEA, Dallas Field Division.  “A prison sentence of 240 months, which Chavez received, should serve as a warning to other drug trafficking organizations that DEA and our state, local and federal partners are united in our efforts to keeping our communities safe.”

Six additional defendants also pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and were sentenced as follows:

Jose Luis Lara-Sosa, 87 months

Jose Montemayor, 87 months

Sammy Chavez, 121 months

Antonio Rosa, 51 months

Ruben Deleon, 71 months

Anthony Deleon, 57 months

   Other defendants pleaded guilty to various other offenses and were sentenced:

Jessica Trevino, 120 months, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine

Brian Melcher, 175 months, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine

Francisco Avalos-Alejandre, 100 months, possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine

Ira Newton-Davis, 48 months, unlawful use of a communication facility

Tiffany Lashell Copley, 12 months and a $5,000 fine for operating an illegal gambling business

“To maximize our effectiveness, organized criminal actions require a unified law enforcement response,” said David M. Marwell, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Dallas.  “Our collaborative work with the OCDETF task force resulted in this successful investigation, and these significant prison sentences.  The methamphetamine addiction that this criminal operation was promoting has destroyed countless lives.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Cunningham, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, prosecuted the cases.


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