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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

15 Arrested on Federal Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Indictment in the Western District of Texas as Part of Operation Dream Catcher

Fifteen individuals are in custody today charged federally with participating in a methamphetamine distribution and money laundering scheme announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division.

A federal grand jury indictment, returned in Austin and unsealed today, charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Arrested today include:

  • Osiel Bautista, age 29, of Austin, TX, 500 grams or more;

  • Luis Loza, age 24, of Austin, 500 grams or more;

  • Alberto Munoz, age 29, an undocumented alien arrested in Austin, 500 grams or more;

  • Alex Perez, age 25, an undocumented alien arrested in Austin, 500 grams or more;

  • Adan Martinez, age 30, of Austin, 50 grams or more;

  • Marty Lopez, age 26, of Alice, TX, 50 grams or more;

  • Rickey Lincoln, age 30, of Austin, 50 grams or more;

  • Jesus Vallejo, age 30, undocumented alien arrested in Austin, 50 grams or more;

  • Eric Manning, age 34, of Waco, 50 grams or more;

  • Aaron Bravo, age 39, of Granite Shoals, TX, 50 grams or more; and,

  • Samuel Chavez, age 25, undocumented alien arrested in Austin, 50 grams or more.

Four defendants charged in the indictment were already in custody prior to today.  They are:

  • Raul Vallejo, age 34, an undocumented alien residing in Austin, 500 grams or more;

  • Pedro Gomez, age 21, of Austin, 50 grams or more;

  • Eden Gonzalez, age 25, an undocumented alien residing Austin, 50 grams or more; and,

  • Antonio Tavera Vera, age 31, an undocumented alien, 50 grams or more.

The indictment also charges Bautista, Loza, Munoz, Raul Vallejo, and Perez with one count of money laundering.  According to the indictment, since September 2014, the defendants have conspired to distribute methamphetamine across the Austin area. 

During today’s arrests, authorities seized approximately ten kilograms of methamphetamine; approximately $5,000 U.S. Currency; and, eight firearms including an SKS rifle with four magazines and ammunition.  Previously, authorities have seized approximately ten kilograms of methamphetamine and an estimated $155,000 in criminally derived assets attributed to these defendants.

“Methamphetamine is a vicious poison that has caused horrific and long-term damage to the quality of life in too many of our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit. “These arrests, as part of Operation Dream Catcher, conclude an 18-month investigation and underscore DEA’s continued commitment to working with our Federal and local law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that negatively impact our neighborhoods and families.”

All of the defendants remain in federal custody.  Upon conviction, Bautista, Loza, Munoz, Raul Vallejo and Perez face between ten years and life in federal prison on the drug trafficking conspiracy charge.  The other defendants face between five and 40 years in federal prison upon conviction of the drug trafficking conspiracy charge.  Bautista, Loza, Munoz, Raul Vallejo and Perez face up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction of the money laundering conspiracy charge.

It is important to note that a criminal complaint is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This case resulted from an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.  Agencies participating in the HIDTA Task Force include:  Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Marshals Service, Austin Police Department, Cedar Park Police Department, Georgetown Police Department, Round Rock Police Department, Granite Shoals Police Department, Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas National Guard and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Guess and Matt Harding are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

Other arrests and federal charges related to Operation Dream Catcher have taken place today in the Southern District of Texas and the Eastern District of Texas.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated February 24, 2016