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Jan. 10, 2011

“LA POTRA” BAR INVESTIGATION RESULTS IN CONVICTIONS AND PRISON TERMS

(HOUSTON) – A Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (HTRA) task force investigation into reported illegal activities at the La Potra bar has resulted in the conviction of four for various federal offenses and prison terms for two sentenced today, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Luis Urbina aka “El Negro,” 27, and Christian Javier Guzman Flores, 21, who were convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine from the Houston area bar, were sentenced today by United States District Judge Vanessa Gilmore. Urbina received time served - approximately 15 months in federal prison, while Flores is to serve 37 months imprisonment. Both sentences are to be served without parole. 

Urbina and Flores are two of five defendants named in two federal indictments charged with various federal offenses for illegal conduct at the “El Potra” bar located at 6149 Airline Dr. in Houston. Also charged and pending sentencing later this year is Wilson Sauzo aka Walter Reyes, 29. Sauzo, convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine after pleading guilty in April 12, 2010, is pending sentencing April 18, 2011, at which time he faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment. Charges against the fourth defendant, Carlos Cabrera, 47, a Honduran national, were dismissed on April 30, 2010, after Cabrera died as a result of a self inflicted injury. Urbina, Flores and Sauzo are also foreign nationals from the Republic of Honduras subject to deportation upon completing their prison terms.

A fifth defendant charged separately, Jose Martin Zavala-Acosta, 27, aka “El Chilango,” a Mexican national, pleaded guilty to a charge of smuggling illegal aliens in February 2010 and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt on May 10, 2010, to 24 months  imprisonment. 

According to the record of this case, the investigation leading to the charges against all of these defendants was initiated upon receipt of reports that prostitution, human trafficking and drug dealing was occurring at the “La Potra” Bar. As a result, members of the HTRA in Houston, which includes the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Houston Police Department and the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission, initiated an investigation. That investigation lead to evidence proving numerous cocaine transactions involving Urbina, Flores and Sauzo occurring at the bar and further evidence proving Zavala-Acosta paid an alien smuggler to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States.
           
Assistant United States Attorneys Ruben R. Perez and Joe Magliolo prosecuted the case for the government.

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