Three Charged with Trafficking Cocaine
McALLEN, Texas – Two men have been arrested and authorities are seeking a third for their alleged involvement in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
A federal grand jury returned a sealed three-count indictment Aug. 16, 2016, against Jesus A. Villarreal, 56, of Sullivan City, Juan Cristobal Hernandez, 37, of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Rolando Martinez, Jr., 31, of Rio Grande City. The court unsealed the indictment in its entirety just moments ago.
Villarreal and Hernandez were taken into custody yesterday and they are expected to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos this morning.
Martinez is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) at 956-992-8400 or Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) at 866-347-2423.
The indictment alleges the three conspired to possess with the intent to distribute in excess of five kilograms of cocaine from March 1, 2015, to May 1, 2015. As part of the indictment, Hernandez and Villarreal allegedly possessed with intent to distribute 22 kilograms of cocaine in March 2015 and 108 kilograms in April 2015.
If convicted, each faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million fine.
The arrests were the result of an investigation dubbed Operation Killing Time that began in 2015 and lead by DEA and HSI with assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety and task force officers from police departments in San Juan, McAllen, Palmview, Weslaco, Mission and Pharr. Assistant United States Attorney Juan F. Alanis 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.