Members of Harrison County Drug Ring Sentenced for Methamphetamine Trafficking
Prosecution the Result of “Operation Pine Curtain,” a Joint Investigation of Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement
MARSHALL, Texas – Two Harrison County men were sentenced to prison today for federal drug trafficking and firearms crimes in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.
Armando Ivan De La Torre, a.k.a. “Poncho,” pleaded guilty on Oct. 6, 2020, to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and use and carrying of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. De La Torre was sentenced to 190 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap. Judge Gilstrap also sentenced Martin Lopez to 84 months in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
“Interagency cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies is essential in achieving our mission of dismantling drug trafficking organizations—from top to bottom—and disrupting the flow of drug-related crime and violence into our communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “Those involved in this investigation serve as an example of how that cooperation brings about shared success.”
According to information presented in court, both men were members of an organization responsible for importing large quantities of methamphetamine from Mexico and distributing it in Marshall. The ring operated as both direct seller of methamphetamine, as well as a source-of-supply to other drug dealers.
On Feb. 19, 2020, De La Torre and Lopez were indicted by a federal grand jury along with seven other co-conspirators, and charged with violations of federal drug trafficking laws.
Operation Pine Curtain is a long-term drug trafficking and money-laundering investigation that has already resulted in the arrest and prosecution of numerous co-conspirators. Danny Brian Hernandez, Ronald Charles Parker, Daniel Ramirez, Guadalupe Salvador Diosdado, Erik Alberto Galindo, and Rachel Naomi Hernandez have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced. Andres Michael Martinez-Juarez, Cristian Leobardo Torres-Santana, Francisco Moreno, Fernie Moreno, Amanda Jean Crisp, and Damarcus Damon Armstrong have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Several others have been arrested, pleaded not guilty, and are awaiting trial.
This is an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case and is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office; and the Marshall Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucas Machicek. OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country and its mission is to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States. The prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency task forces leverage the authorities and expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.