South Laredo Crack Dealers Sentenced to Lengthy Terms of Imprisonment
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
LAREDO, Texas – The reputed leader of the Melendez Drug Trafficking Organization from South Laredo has been ordered to federal prison for life, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
A federal jury convicted Adan Melendez aka “12,” 40, in June 2015 on 20 counts related to drug trafficking to include drug conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, crack and marijuana; using minors in drug operations; drug distribution; conspiracy to commit money laundering; maintaining a drug premises; possession with intent to distribute marijuana; and possession a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking offense.
Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña sentenced Melendez to life in prison.
Melendez’s two sons - Adan Melendez Jr. aka “Vivi,” 22, and Andres Melendez aka “Chon,” 21, both of Laredo - were also sentenced today. Melendez Jr. received a sentence of 147 months for the drug conspiracy, while his younger brother was ordered to serve 188 months in prison for both the conspiracy and for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
A total of 18 defendants have now been sentenced as part of Operation “Revocation.” The 15 others received terms up to 210 months in prison. Ten additional defendants convicted in the case are still pending sentencing.
Melendez and his two sons ran an organization that distributed cocaine, crack and marijuana in South Laredo from at least 2012 until they were arrested in the summer of 2014. Testimony during trial revealed that Melendez profited approximately $1,200 per day from his operations and spent tens of thousands on luxury cars for himself and his sons.
At the hearing today, Judge Saldaña stated that she could find no redeeming value in Melendez’s background or lifestyle. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) José Angel Moreno likened the drug dealers to vampires, quoting from a Fifth Circuit case describing drug dealers:
“This observation of the en banc Court is patently correct, and we so hold. Except in rare cases, the murder’s red hand falls on one victim only, however grim the blow; but the foul hand of the drug dealer blights life after life and, like the vampire of fable, creates others in its owner’s own image–others who create others still, across our land and down our generations, sparing not even the unborn.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation. AUSAs Moreno and Jorge Vela are prosecuting the case.
Updated April 6, 2017