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Jan. 16, 2009

14 CHARGED WITH FEDERAL AND STATE CRACK COCAINE CHARGES

Eight in custody; two others in state custody on unrelated charges; warrants outstanding for four more

(McALLEN, Texas) – A total of 14 area residents have been charged as the result of a joint federal and state investigation into the distribution of cocaine base, more commonly referred to as crack cocaine, in and around the Roma and Rio Grande City areas, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and officers with the Starr County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the United States Border Patrol, United States Marshal’s Office, Roma and Rio Grande Police Departments, Starr County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force and Starr County District Attorney investigators, have made eight arrests this week including seven who were arrested on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, as a result of the return of a federal indictment charging three persons and the filing of state charges against 11 others. 

Sergio Alvarez-Rodriguez, 25, one of three defendants charged in a five-count federal indictment, was arrested early Thursday morning at his residence in Rio Grande City. Agents recovered three firearms in his home. Another defendant, Francisco Mireles, 50, of Roma, Texas, was also arrested on Thursday morning. The indictment, returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Dec. 16, 2008, was unsealed today by court order prior Alvarez-Rodriguez’s and Mireles’ appearance before a federal magistrate. Both have been ordered detained in federal custody pending a hearing on the government’s motion to detain each, respectively, without bond pending trial. That hearing has been scheduled for both for Jan. 21, 2009, at 9:30 a.m.  Also charged with Alvarez-Rodriguez and Mireles in the federal indictment is Sigifredo Alvarez, 26, of Rio Grande City, Texas. Alvarez is presently in state custody on unrelated state charges. The United States is in the process of seeking the transfer of this defendant into federal custody to answer to these charges with his co-defendants.

Alvarez-Rodriguez, of Roma, Texas, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base from Dec. 1, 2007, to Feb. 1, 2008, and four counts of possession with intent to distribute more than five but less than 50 grams of cocaine base on Dec. 3, 2007, and Jan. 16, 23 and 31, 2008. The conspiracy count carries a range of punishment of 10 years to life in prison, a fine of up to $4 million and a five-year-term of supervised release. The remaining counts carry a term of imprisonment of no less than five up to a possible 40 years, a maximum fine of up to $2 million and a four-year-term of supervise release.

Alvarez is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute more than five, but less than 50 grams of cocaine base on Dec. 3, 2007, while Mireles is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute more than five, but less than 50 grams of cocaine base on Jan. 23, 2008. Both face federal prison time of no less than five to a maximum 40 years, a maximum fine of $2 million and a four-year-term of supervised release. Sigifredo Alvarez is scheduled to appear for arraignment in McAllen the following Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 11:00 a.m. 

In addition to the federal charges, the joint investigation has lead to the filing of state charges by the Starr County District Attorney’s office against the following 11 individuals for allegedly manufacturing or delivering crack cocaine in the Roma or Rio Grande City, Texas area:

(1) Pedro Alaniz Jr., 38, of Garceno, Texas  (warrant outstanding);

(2) Alejandro Gonzalez Jr., 23, of Garceno, Texas, was arrested Jan. 15, 2009, in Rio Grande City on two state charges of manufacture or delivery of cocaine base. The first offense is a state jail felony (less than one gram of cocaine base) that allegedly occurred June 5, 2008. The second offense is a second degree felony (one to four grams of cocaine) that allegedly took place on June 20, 2008;

(3) Julieta Elizabeth Munoz, 30, of Roma was arrested Jan. 15, 2009, in Rio Grande City on a state charge of manufacture or delivery of cocaine base, a state jail felony (less than one gram of cocaine base) alleged to have occurred on June 5, 2008;

(4) Manuela Viola Clarke, 61, of Rio Grande City was arrested Jan. 15, 2009 at her residence on three charges of manufacture or delivery of cocaine base. Two offenses allegedly occurred on Nov. 6, 2008. The third offense is alleged to have occurred Nov. 19, 2008. She is charged with one state jail felony offense (less than one gram of cocaine base) and two second degree felonies (one or more but less than four grams of cocaine base);

(5) Janella Chavarria, 20, of Rio Grande City was arrested Jan. 15, 2008, at a residence in Rio Grande City on two state charges of manufacture or delivery of cocaine base. Both offenses allegedly occurred on Nov. 6, 2008. The first offense is a state jail felony (less than one gram of cocaine base) and the second offense is a second degree felony (one to four grams); 

(6) Yadira Guerra, 21, of Roma was arrested Jan. 15, 2009, at relative’s residence on one state charge of manufacture or delivery of cocaine base, a second degree felony (one or more but less than four grams of cocaine base), alleged to have occurred June 26, 2008;

(7) Leroy Rosa, 23, of Garceno, Texas (warrant outstanding);

(8) Everado Falcon Sanchez, 39, of Rio Grande City was arrested Monday, Jan. 12, 2009, on state charge of delivery of less than gram of cocaine basis, state jail felony;

(9) Ramiro Eden Clarke, 42, of Rio Grande City (warrant outstanding),

(10) Samuel Serna, 41, of Rio Grande City (warrant outstanding); and

(11) Joaquin Rosa, 36, of Roma was arrested in Roma on Jan. 15, 2009, one charge of manufacture or delivery of cocaine base, a second degree felony, (one or more but less than four grams of cocaine base) alleged to have occurred on Jan. 12.  

A state jail felony in the state of Texas carries a range of punishment of 180 days to two years in state prison, while a second degree felony carries a range of punishment of not less than two years and no more than 20 years in a state penitentiary. 
 
The state charges will be prosecuted by the Starr County District Attorney Heriberto Silva’s Office in state court. The federal case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan Alanis in federal district court in McAllen. 

 

 

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