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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

May 20, 2013

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Four Charged in Methamphetamine Deal Near The Houstonian

HOUSTON – Four men have been charged with conspiracy to possess and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Javier Peña, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Roberto Carlos Garza, 23, and Alexander Chavez, 34, both of Rio Grande City, and Luis Angel Mendoza-Estrella, 26, and Loya-Plancarte, 22, both of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, were arrested Saturday after an incident near the Houstonian Hotel on North Post Oak Lane in Houston.

On May 17, 2013, a confidential source met with Garza and Chavez and allegedly negotiated the delivery of 22 pounds of methamphetamine. The criminal complaint, filed today, alleges the source was to deliver $15,000 per pound upon delivery of the methamphetamine at a parking lot near the Houstonian Hotel.  

At approximately 12:58 p.m. the next day, according to the complaint, DEA agents observed a gray Honda CR-V arrive at the location driven by Chavez with Garza riding as a passenger. The Honda was allegedly followed by a gray Toyota Tundra driven by Mendoza-Estrella with Loya-Plancarte in the passenger seat. The Tundra parked, then allegedly backed out of the parking spot and drove around the lot slowly with Mendoza-Estrella and Loya-Plancarte allegedly observing other vehicles in the lot. 

The criminal complaint alleges that after the source approached the Honda, met with Chavez and observed the methamphetamine, agents attempted to execute the arrest of the four men. Identifying themselves as law enforcement officers, agents ordered them out of the vehicles. Mendoza-Estrella and Loya-Plancarte each complied and agents took them into custody without incident. 

However, Chavez allegedly attempted to flee, according to the allegations. He drove the Honda in reverse and struck another vehicle, then drove forward and accelerated rapidly towards two agents who were on foot, according to the complaint. One of the agents fired toward Chavez in an effort to stop him from hitting the agent with the vehicle.

Chavez was allegedly hit and the vehicle veered to the side and eventually came to a stop. Garza was taken into custody and Chavez was treated at the scene until an ambulance arrived and transported him to a hospital.

Agents subsequently found and seized three plastic containers containing a white crystalline substance believed to be methamphetamine from the rear area of the Honda, according to the complaint. The substance allegedly weighed approximately 15 pounds. 

With the exception of Chavez, the three men made their initial appearance in federal court this afternoon and were temporarily detained pending further criminal proceedings. Mendoza-Estrella and Loya-Plancarte will have a detention hearing on Wed. May 22, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson. Garza will appear in court tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. before Judge Johnson for a counsel determination hearing.

If convicted, each faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a possible $10 million fine.  

The case is being investigation by the DEA with the assistance of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Rob Jones is prosecuting.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.