Several Houstonians Arrested in Firearms and Drug Investigation
|June 8, 2012|
HOUSTON – A total of six people from Houston are now in custody following the return of a 15-count federal indictment, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The unsealed indictment, alleges conspiracy, making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms, smuggling goods from the United States, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
This morning, Oscar Medrano, 38, of Houston, turned himself in to federal authorities and will make his appearance in federal court at 2:00 p.m. Yesterday, agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrested Armando Rene Medrano, 42, Martha Cristina Hernandez, 40, and Sandra Lisseth Landin, 40, all also of Houston, while Christopher Royce Webb, 34, surrendered to federal authorities yesterday morning. They all appeared yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy K. Johnson and were ordered held without bond. Ray Delpilar Miranda, 56, is currently in state custody on related charges and will make his initial appearance on the federal charges next week.
From June 5, 2010, the defendants, with the exception of Oscar Medrano, are alleged to have conspired together in the purchase, receipt, transportation and selling of firearms, knowing the firearms were intended for exportation to Mexico. They are all also each charged with various counts of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms, commonly referred to as straw purchasing.
Counts 11 and 12 of the indictment further allege Armando Medrano, Hernandez, Landin, Webb and Miranda did fraudulently and knowingly attempt to export several firearms to Mexico, including rifles and pistols, and did facilitate the transportation and concealment of those firearms, knowing they were intended for exportation contrary to said laws and regulations of the United States.
Oscar and Armando Medrano, Webb and Miranda are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana as well as possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. Each of the drug trafficking charges all involve more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.
The indictment also includes a notice of forfeiture for several items involved in the conspiracy or alleged to have been acquired with proceeds from the alleged illegal activity. Those include several 5.7 caliber rifles and other firearms, a 2007 Toyota Tundra and a 2004 Volkswagon Jetta.
The drug trafficking charges all carry a minimum five and up to 40 years in prison, upon conviction. All five also face up to 10 years on each of the smuggling charges as well as a maximum five years on each of the firearms charges as well as the conspiracy charge.
The case was investigated by the special agents with DEA and ATF as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Houston and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ted Imperato.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.