DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2009            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe             PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881

MAJOR DRUG RING BUSTED IN EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

            PLANO, TX – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that 17 individuals have been arrested on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering in the Eastern District of Texas.

            The arrests are the result of a 2-year investigation into a drug trafficking ring alleged to have been responsible for the distribution of over 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, worth approximately $22 million.  
           
            U.S. Attorney Bales said, "Today's arrests underscore two very important principles.  First, we are resolved to be ever vigilant in battling these drug trafficking organizations and we will root them out wherever they attempt to land. Second, the very best method to attack these criminal elements is utilizing a combined federal, state, and local law enforcement task force approach."  Bales added, "Today's enforcement action is emblematic of that dynamic approach.  I cannot say enough good things about the marvelous work of the various agencies who are participating in this investigation."

            In announcing these arrests, FBI SAC Robert E. Casey, Jr. wishes to commend the Police Officers, Sheriff's Deputies, Department of Public Safety, Federal Agencies and Assistant U.S. Attorney's assigned to the Task Force that conducted this investigation.  "Their tireless efforts have helped to neutralize a drug distribution network whose activities reached beyond the Texas borders. The charges announced today illustrate the effectiveness of combining federal resources with the expertise of local law enforcement."

            IRS Special Agent in Charge, Michael P. Lahey said, "IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to targeting the untaxed underground drug industry to put those taxes back into the American economy."

            During the June 4th arrests, law enforcement officers seized cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and approximately $10,000 in cash.  They were also able to confiscate numerous firearms, ammunition, and approximately 20 vehicles believed to have been used in the illegal activities.  In all, law enforcement officials have seized 149 kilograms of cocaine, valued at $2.78 million; 26 lbs of methamphetamine, valued at $676,000; $185,000 in cash, 25 handguns, one assault rifle, and 25 vehicles.  Authorities also intend to seek forfeiture of 6 real estate properties.  

            A federal indictment was returned by the grand jury on April 8, 2009, charging multiple defendants with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, or possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana.  Gabriel Mendoza, Sr., Adam Martinez Mendoza and Luis Gonzalez were also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.  The following individuals are in custody and were brought before U.S. Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush for Initial Appearances on June 4th:

Defendants in Custody       
Age   
  Residence 
       
Gabriel Mendoza, Sr.
59
  Farmers Branch, TX
Gabriel Mendoza, Jr.
39
  Little Elm, TX
Adam Martinez Mendoza   
32
  Carrollton, TX
Luis Gonzalez   
38
  Duncanville, TX
Simon Gallegos
41
  Farmers Branch, TX
San Juan Gonzalez 
33
  Grand Prairie, TX
Calvin Andrew Williams 
36
  Mesquite, TX
Andy Willie Washington Madkins 
48
  Carthage, TX
Guadalupe Ortiz
31
  Dallas, TX
Albert Lee Villa  
27
  Irving, TX
Manuel Gallegos, Jr. 
33
  Farmers Branch, TX
Jose Armando Ramos 
29
  Irving, TX
Hugo Gonzalez  
31
  Carrollton, TX
Henry Garcia, Jr. 
63
  Irving, TX
Freddie Castillo  
58
  Ennis, TX
Armando Escamilla 
60
  Edinburg, TX
Sylvia Armijo
26
  Carrollton, TX

            If convicted, defendants face up to Life in federal prison for the drug trafficking charge.  Gabriel Mendoza, Sr., Adam Martinez Mendoza, and Luis Gonzalez each face up to an additional 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering.

            This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Denton Police Department, the Dallas Police Department, the Plano Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations, and the Denton County Sheriff's Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather H. Rattan. 

            A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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