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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 19, 2016

Federal Jury Convicts San Angelo, Texas, Man on Methamphetamine Distribution and Firearms Charges

Defendant Faces Mandatory Life Sentence

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Following a one-day trial that began this morning before Senior U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings, a federal has jury convicted Jesse Huerra, 31, of San Angelo, Texas, on methamphetamine distribution and firearms charges outlined in a May 2016 federal indictment, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Specifically, the jury convicted Huerra on one count each of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and being a convicted felon in possession of firearms. 

The government filed a notice of enhancement because Huerra has two previous “felony drug offenses.”  If the Court finds those convictions are final and valid, then, by statute, the Court must impose a life sentence without parole as to the methamphetamine count.  A sentencing date was not set. 

Huerra has been in custody since his arrest on July 13, 2016, when numerous defendants, most from the San Angelo area, were arrested in a joint Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the San Angelo Police Department.  Twelve defendants, including the drug trafficking organization’s leader, Rudolfo Ledesma Castaneda, Jr., 31, were charged in an indictment with various felony offenses stemming from their roles in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy that operated in San Angelo.  While Castaneda’s trial date is set for November 7, 2016, most defendants have pleaded guilty to their roles and are awaiting sentencing.

The government presented evidence at trial that on December 4, 2015, the San Angelo Police Department executed a search warrant at Huerra’s residence on Estella Drive in San Angelo.  After being advised of his constitutional rights, Huerra stated that he had methamphetamine in his dresser in the master bedroom and in the top bunk of his children’s bunk bed.  He also stated that he had pistols in the master bedroom closet. 

A search of Huerra’s residence yielded more than 1,500 grams of methamphetamine, three firearms (one with the serial number removed), and several items of drug trafficking paraphernalia.  A law enforcement witness testified that the street value in San Angelo for the methamphetamine was approximately $125,000.

The DEA, Texas DPS and the San Angelo Police Department are leading the investigation, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security Investigations, and the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Haag and John Eric Nickols are prosecuting the case.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated September 20, 2016