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Federal and State Authorities Indict 35 Individuals in Connection with Permian Basin Cocaine and Heroin Distribution Operations

JAN 10  (MIDLAND, Texas) – Yesterday, authorities arrested 22 of the 35 individuals yesterday on federal and state drug charges announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph A. Arabit, El Paso Division; United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Midland County District Attorney Teresa J. Clingman; and Midland Police Chief Price Robinson.  

Fifteen of those arrested yesterday, including 46 year-old Jesus Enrique Gabaldon-Villa, 64 year-old Jesus Manuel Anchondo of Odessa, 50 year-old Samuel Ortiz of Midland, and 30 year-old Jesse "Chuy" Martinez of Midland, are charged in four federal grand jury indictments returned last month and unsealed today in Midland.  Ten of the 35 individuals indicted were already in custody. 

Three of the federal indictments (Gabaldon-Villa, et al.; Anchondo, et al.; and, Ortiz, et al.) focus on a heroin trafficking conspiracy operating in the Permian Basin area. The indictments charge ringleader Jesus Gabaldon-Villa, Jesus Anchondo, Samuel Ortiz and 11 others with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Authorities allege that from May to December of last year, the defendants were responsible for transporting multiple ounce quantities of "high quality" heroin from the Sierra Blanca area then selling it in Midland and Odessa. Three defendants remain fugitives in this investigation; 59 year-old Rogelio Villa, Sr., 57 year-old Leocadio Carillo-Gonzales and 51 year-old Maria Hernandez.  Upon conviction, the defendants charged in these three indictments face sentences of up to 20 years in federal prison or between five and 40 years in federal prison depending on the amount of heroin involved.

The other indictment (Martinez, et al.) focuses on cocaine trafficking in the Midland area. In this indictment, ringleader Jesse "Chuy" Martinez, along with 30 year-old Julio Rodriguez, and 34 year-old Alexander "Hondo" Castillo, all of Midland, are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Authorities allege that from April to December of last year, Martinez, Rodriguez and Castillo were responsible for the distribution of user quantities of cocaine totaling approximately five kilograms throughout the Midland area. Upon conviction, each faces between five and 40 years in federal prison.

Eleven who were arrested yesterday face state drug charges. Those charges are being pursued by the Midland County District Attorney's Office.

"Through our partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, we are targeting local trafficking networks responsible for the illegal distribution of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs. This investigation serves as a compelling example of our joint success and demonstrates the value of multi-agency collaboration. The resulting indictments, arrests and seizures will have a positive impact in the community, where the distribution and abuse of illegal drugs can have devastating health and societal effects. We will continue to work together to pursue drug trafficking organizations at every level in an effort to make our cities and neighborhoods safer," stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph A. Arabit.

These charges and arrests resulted from investigations conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Midland Police Department together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service and the Ector County Sheriff's Office. The Texas Department of Public Safety, Odessa Police Department, Midland County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Probation Office assisted in making yesterday's arrests.

An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.


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