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Press Release

Texas Man On Federal Supervised Release Charged With Transporting 30 Kilograms Of Cocaine Through Columbia County, Florida

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Hector Villarreal (36, Pasadena, TX) with possession with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. If convicted, Villarreal faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years, up to life, in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Villarreal that the United States intends to forfeit any assets involved in the offense.

According to the indictment and public documents, on May 28, 2024, deputies from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, working collaboratively with deputies from the Lowndes County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office, were performing drug interdiction work. As Villarreal was driving a rental SUV eastbound on I-10 in Lake City, Florida, the deputies witnessed Villarreal’s vehicle fail to maintain its lane. The deputies followed Villarreal’s vehicle as it turned onto the I-75 interchange to proceed south. When deputies made a traffic stop, Villarreal told them that he was on federal supervised release for narcotics trafficking out of Texas. Ultimately, a search of the vehicle led to the discovery of sealed cardboard boxes. When a Lowndes County drug canine alerted on the vehicle, deputies found 30 kilograms of cocaine inside the boxes.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.          

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Tysen Duva.

Updated June 27, 2024

Drug Trafficking