Texas meth ring handed massive sentences
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
McALLEN, Texas – Several Fort Worth area meth runners and their recruiter have been sentenced for their roles in a half-year meth importing conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The case involved the seizure of seven meth loads with a combined weight of more than 150 kilograms.
Aren Reyes, 23, Teresa Gonzales, 27, Francisca Baez, 53, and Yesenia Garcia, 27, all of Fort Worth; and Ofelia Hernandez Vasquez, 26, Saginaw, pleaded guilty in late 2017.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez handed the main recruiter - Reyes - a 240-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. Also sentenced today were drug mules Gonzales and Garcia, who received respective sentences of 58 and 60 months in federal prison. Vasquez was sentenced to a term of 40 months, while Baez was ordered to serve a 75-month term of imprisonment. Both were drug smugglers in the organization.
In handing down the sentences, the court noted this was not the only load of drugs Gonzalez, Garcia and Vasquez had smuggled and could have changed their minds at any time and not participated in the long drive from Fort Worth. The court also mentioned that even if Baez was unable to stop her son - Reyes - from narcotics trafficking, she could have avoided joining her son in his criminal activities. Prior to assessing the 20-year sentence upon Reyes, Judge Alvarez considered the number of individuals he recruited into the drug trafficking ring and how many he affected with such a serious and destructive drug as meth.
Reyes was the main recruiter of drug mules for this drug trafficking organization and would frequently accompany them to the Rio Grande Valley to coordinate the importation of the drugs into the U.S. She would also travel up to Houston and occasionally, to the state of Georgia. He would escort the mules to make sure they got the drugs successfully past ports of entry and checkpoints.
On April 30, 2017, Vasquez and her brother, Manuel Martinez, 40, Saginaw, Texas, were arrested at the Anzalduas port of entry with approximately 30 kilos of meth in their vehicle. The drugs were stashed in a load of milk and juice containers to try to avoid suspicion. Martinez was sentenced previously to 120 months in for his role in the crime.
The next months, Garcia and Gonzales were arrested at the Progreso port of entry. They attempted to smuggle 11 kilograms of meth into the country in their vehicle - hidden in bags of candy.
Reyes also used his boyfriend, Brandon Morrison, and his mother, Baez, in the scheme. On Aug. 6, 2017, Morrison and Baez pushed a cart loaded with drinks into the Brownsville Port of Entry from Mexico. Upon Investigation, authorities soon discovered 15 kilograms of meth hidden within the coconut water bottles in Morrison’s cart. Morrison previously received a 122-month sentence.
All will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Lindenmuth is prosecuting the cases.
Updated October 23, 2019