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Five Sentenced in Federal Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

BEAUMONT, TX – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge, Thomas E. Hinojosa and U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that five members of a major drug conspiracy in the Eastern District of Texas have been sentenced to federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

Vincent Bertrand, 47, of Winnie, Texas pleaded guilty on Jan. 11, 2011 to using a communications device to facilitate the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison today.

Carlos Cesar Morillo, 36, of Houston, pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2011 to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison today.

Aurelio Pineda-Moreno, 30, of Watertown, PA, pleaded guilty on Jan. 31, 2011 to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison today.

David Ruiz, 31, of Hearne, Texas, pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2011 to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine and was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison today.

Alejandro Garcia, 47, of Houston, pleaded guilty on Jan. 11, 2011 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison today.

According to information presented in court, in August 2008, an investigation began into a Houston-based drug trafficking organization that was distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine throughout Houston and the Beaumont, Texas area. In June 2009, agents began utilizing court-ordered telephone intercepts in an effort to determine those involved in the conspiracy, the amount of drugs being distributed and the source of the drugs. Law enforcement officers and agents also participated in undercover purchases of methamphetamine and revealed at least 40 persons were involved in the conspiracy and that no less that 113 pounds of methamphetamine and 31 kilograms of cocaine were distributed. At least 20 kilograms of cocaine was seized through undercover buys and during the execution of search warrants and arrests. A federal grand jury returned an indictment on June 3, 2010, charging 35 defendants with various drug trafficking charges. An additional five defendants were named in a superseding indictment on Nov. 3, 2010. All defendants have since been convicted.

This case is being investigated by the DEA, ICE, ATF, Texas Department of Public Safety, Orange County Sheriff's Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Chambers County Sheriff's Office, the Beaumont Police Department, U.S. Marshal's Service, Brazoria County Sheriff's Office, Galveston County Sheriff's Office, Galveston Police Department, Houston Police Department and the Texas Rangers. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle Englade and Antonetta Stancu.


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