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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Three Men Sentenced For Trafficking Meth In Houston

HOUSTON – Roberto Carlos Garza, Alexander Chavez and Martin Loya-Plancarte have all been ordered to federal prison for their roles in a five kilogram methamphetamine deal that occurred on May 18, 2013, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Garza, 24, and Chavez, 34, both of Rio Grande City, and Loya-Plancarte, 26, an undocumented alien from Mexico residing in the Houston area, all previously pleaded guilty in the case.

Today, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes sentenced Loya-Plancarte to a 294-month federal prison term, while Garza and Chavez were ordered to serve 90 and 96 months, respectively. Garza and Chavez will also be required to serve five years of supervised release. Loya-Plancarte, not a U.S. citizen, also received a five-year-term of supervised release but is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from federal prison.

At the time of their guilty pleas, the men admitted to arranging a methamphetamine transaction on May 17, 2013, for approximately 22 pounds of methamphetamine at a price of $15,000 per pound. The following day, Garza and Chavez each agreed to deliver the drugs to a parking lot near the Houstonian Hotel in Houston. 

At approximately 12:58 p.m. on May 18, 2013, agents observed a gray Honda CR-V arrive at the location driven by Chavez with Garza riding as a passenger. Shortly after arrival, agents attempted to take Garza and Chavez into custody. Identifying themselves as law enforcement officers and wearing law enforcement identification, agents ordered them out of the vehicle. Chavez attempted to flee, driving in reverse and striking another vehicle, then driving forward and accelerating rapidly towards two agents who were on foot.

Fearing for his life, one of the agents fired two rounds from his service weapon toward Chavez while attempting to move out of the way and avoid being hit. The agent believed Chavez was attempting to run him over and had no choice but to fire his weapon toward the vehicle to avoid being run over and possibly killed. The rounds appeared to strike Chavez and the CR-V veered to the side, struck two other vehicles and came to a stop.

Garza was then taken into custody and Chavez was treated at the scene until an ambulance arrived and transported him to a hospital for treatment. Agents subsequently seized three plastic containers containing methamphetamine from the rear area of the Honda. The methamphetamine had a net weight of 4.946 kilograms, was 90.1% pure and had been imported into the U.S. from Mexico.

Upon his arrest, Garza made several statements incriminating himself, Chavez and Loya-Plancarte in this methamphetamine transaction. Garza and Chavez each also stated that Loya-Plancarte was the person in Houston who had set up the deal and that they were conducting the transaction in part under his supervision.

All will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Arthur R. Jones is prosecuting.

Updated April 30, 2015