Skip to main content
Press Release

Three Texas Men Indicted For Violating the Federal Controlled Substances Act

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – RAFAEL MOLINA, age 43, GUSTAVO BALDERAS, age 32, and MICHAEL GARZA, age 34, all residents of Texas, were charged February 22, 2019, in a six-count indictment by a Federal Grand Jury with several narcotics offenses, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine hydrochloride and five hundred grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, and distribution of cocaine hydrochloride, announced U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser.

According to court records, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force identified MOLINA as an upper level narcotics trafficker of cocaine in the Thibodaux, Louisiana area.  Between July 2018 and September 2018, MOLINA made several telephone calls in the Eastern District of Louisiana to facilitate a cocaine conspiracy and on September 28, 2018, distributed more than 500 grams of cocaine hydrochloride to the Eastern District of Louisiana. 

On February 10, 2019, the DEA Task Force learned that MOLINA was en route to Thibodaux to deliver two kilograms of cocaine.  Task Force officers established surveillance in Thibodaux and observed MOLINA, riding in a white pickup truck, and BALDERAS and GARZA, riding in a black Chrysler 300, registered to GARZA, at a motel in Thibodaux.  GARZA and BALDERAS entered the truck with MOLINA and they departed from the motel.  As the three departed the motel, officers conducted a traffic stop on the truck.  Agents searched both vehicles and located a Yeti ice chest in the Chrysler 300.  Inside the Yeti were two kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride. 

If convicted, MOLINA, BALDERAS and GARZA face a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000.00 and at least five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. 

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets. 

U.S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that the indictment is merely a charging document and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Homeland Security Investigations-Harlingen, Texas, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.  The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney André Jones.

Updated July 2, 2019

Drug Trafficking