A dozen Texans arrested in Laredo round-up
LAREDO, Texas – A coordinated law enforcement effort has resulted in the arrest of multiple individuals for conspiring to distribute narcotics and firearm violations, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
On March 24, a federal grand jury sitting in Corpus Christi returned three separate sealed indictments charging Martin Perez Jr., 38, Mateo Roberto Alaniz, 46, Joaquin Maldonado, 38, Julio Nazario Torres, 46, Armando Mendoza Jr., 38, Federico Maldonado, 32, Luis Alberto Agredano, 42, Roberto Gonzalez, 38, Alfredo Gonzalez, 35, Jesus Austin Farfan, 31, Antonio Mercado, 35, and Agustin Fuentes, 36.
All are expected to make their initial appearances before a U.S. magistrate judge in Laredo Monday, March 29.
Their indictments allege varying charges relating to their involvement in trafficking narcotics in Laredo. With the exception of Fuentes and Mercado, the remaining 10 defendants are charged in one indictment with possession with the intent to deliver crack cocaine as well as maintaining a premises for drug trafficking within 1000 feet of a school, playground or public housing project. Perez and Farfan are also charged in the same indictment with possessing a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. Fuentes is further charged solely in a separate indictment for possession with intent to deliver heroin. The last indictment alleges Mercado also possessed heroin with the intent to deliver it.
If convicted, all but Fuentes and Mercado face up to life in prison. Then remaining charges carry varying term of imprisonment of up to 40 years.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Laredo Police Department and FBI conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation dubbed Operation Sin Piso with the assistance of the Webb County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittany L. Jensen is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.