South Texas HPL Gang Members and Associates Indicted for Firearms and Drug Trafficking
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A total of 10 individuals and associates of the Hermandad de Pistoleros Latinos (HPL) gang are in custody following a coordinated round-up in multiple jurisdictions, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas (SDTX) and U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin Jr. of the Western District of Texas (WDTX).
This three-year investigation focused on drug trafficking and members of the HPL and their associates in the Corpus Christi, Houston and San Antonio areas.
Taken into custody today as a result of indictments returned last week in Corpus Christi include HPL Lieutenant Pacino San Miguel aka “Abuelo,” 40, of Houston; HPL Lieutenant Jacob Gonzales aka “Orbit,” 27, Mario Alberto Ramirez, 30, HPL Lieutenant Oscar Pena aka “OP,” 55, Leroy Rocha aka “Tank,” 26, and Dorothy Babette Cuello aka “Tiny,” 55, all of Corpus Christi. With the exception of San Miguel who is expected to appear in Houston tomorrow morning, all of the defendants made their initial appearance in Corpus Christi today and were temporarily ordered into custody pending detentions hearings next week.
Miguel, Gonzales, Ramirez and Rocha are all charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, while Pena, and Cuello are charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin.
Also arrested today were HPL Lieutenant Ricardo Aguilar aka “Indio,” 38, Stephanie Pacheco, 31, Jesse Mendoza aka “Chivo,” 42, all of San Antonio. A federal grand jury in San Antonio indicted all three for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Also charged in this case is Robert Hewitty aka “Looney,” 36, who was already in custody. He is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
Aguilar, Pacheco, and Hewitty all face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison based on the amount of methamphetamine involved in the conspiracy, while Mendoza faces between five years and 40 years in federal prison. If convicted of their charges, the defendants charged in the SDTX face a 20-year-maximum term of imprisonment.
The Texas Department of Public Safety - Criminal Investigations Division and the FBI conducted the investigation together with police departments in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston and Pasadena; Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Office of Inspector General; Harris County Sheriff’s Office; and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Jeff Miller is prosecuting the SDTX case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.