DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2008                                           PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                        PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881
                                                                                                    

OPERATION ICEBOX DEFENDANTS RESENTENCED FOR DRUG CRIMES

            TYLER, TX B  United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced today that two men have been resentenced to federal prison for drug violations in the Eastern District of Texas and a third defendant is scheduled for resentencing. The resentencing resulted from a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in July 2008 wherein the Court reversed the defendants' convictions on 3 charges but affirmed their convictions on all other charges.
 

            JOSE ZAVALA, 27, of Tyler, was convicted on 22 counts of an indictment after jury trial on November 2, 2006.  The charges included conspiracy to distribute more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine, related drug charges and firearms charges. He was resentenced on all but 3 of those charges to a total of 922 months in federal prison and a forfeiture judgment of $1 million.

            RENE ZAVALA, 31, of Bocas, Mexico, was convicted on 22 counts of an indictment after jury trial on November 2, 2006.  The charges included conspiracy to distribute more than 15 kilograms of methamphetamine, related drug charges and firearms charges. He was resentenced on all but 3 charges to a total 895 months in federal prison and a $1 million forfeiture judgment.

            SIMON BALDERAS, JR., 30, of Tyler, who was convicted on 22 counts of an indictment after jury trial on November 2, 2006, is set for re-sentencing on October 28, 2008.

            According to information presented in court, an investigation began in October 2004 into the distribution of Aice@ methamphetamine in east Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.  During this time, the investigation resulted in 22 undercover drug purchases, the purchase and seizure of at least 15 handguns and the seizure of at least four pounds of Aice@ methamphetamine and amounts of marijuana and pharmaceutical drugs, the seizure of three vehicles and a safe containing approximately $300,000 cash.  A 26-count federal indictment was returned in March charging 19 co-defendants with federal charges.  Thus far in Operation ICEBOX, there have been 19 convictions, over $300,000 cash, cars, firearms, and one house seized, and $1.95 million in forfeiture judgments.  The evidence presented at trial indicated that Balderas, Jr., Rene and Jose Zavala and others utilized sources of methamphetamine from Mexico to develop a distribution organization operating in Tyler.  These defendants and others engaged in significant methamphetamine distribution in Tyler, Texas, Shreveport, Louisiana, Alabama, and as far as Miami, Florida.  The distribution involved hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine, thousands of ecstasy (MDMA) tablets and other pharmaceutical drugs.  Balderas, Jr. also claimed to be the leader of the Norteno street gang in Tyler.
  
            This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the United States Marshal=s Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Tyler Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff=s Office, and the Henderson Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William Baldwin and Mary Ann Cozby.

           
###

back to top