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Press Release

37 Arrested For Alleged Roles In Austin-Based Drug Distribution Operations

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

Federal, state and local authorities have arrested 37 individuals in connection with two related drug trafficking conspiracies based in Austin announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez, and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Javier Pena.  A list of the arrested defendants is attached.

A three-count federal grand jury indictment (A13CR164), returned on April 2, 2012, and unsealed yesterday, charges 27 individuals with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine.  The indictment also charges Gabriel Trevino with one count of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin.  Jose Rodriguez, Jose Hernandez, Genaro Arellano and Maria Granados also face one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Authorities allege that Jose Rodriguez-Campuzano was the Austin cell head of a large Mexican based trafficking organization associated with the Knights Templar.  Using hidden compartments in automobiles, the organization shipped methamphetamine and cocaine to defendant Jesse Trevino’s business, JT Body and Paint in Austin, where it would be prepared for shipment to distributors in Dallas, Oklahoma City, as well as cities in other states.  During this investigation, authorities have seized over 75 kilograms of methamphetamine, ten kilograms of cocaine and two kilograms of heroin attributed to this distribution network.

A separate federal grand jury indictment (A13CR166), also returned on April 2, 2012, and unsealed yesterday, charges 14 individuals for their roles in a cocaine and methamphetamine distribution operation.  The alleged leader of the organization, Jose Escamilla, as well as Rafael Ayala, Dai Zavala, Trocalle Amos and Brian Griffin are charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine.  Edgar Morales and Marco Ayala are charged in the cocaine conspiracy count; Salvador Cabral, Jessica Mitchell and David Cooke, in the methamphetamine conspiracy count.  Escamilla, Morales, Ayala, Zavala, Cooke, Josue Pineda and James Dilworth are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Authorities allege that cocaine and methamphetamine were being transported from the Rio Grande Valley to Marco and Rafael Ayala in Austin under the direction of Jose Escamilla.  Once in Austin, the drugs would be distributed locally and also outside of Texas.  During the investigation, agents were able to seize multiple loads of drugs and proceeds from the sale of drugs.  On one occasion, a load of 20 kilograms of cocaine was seized from a hidden compartment in an 18 wheeler.  Agents seized multiple kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana during the course of the investigation as well as over $1,000,000 in suspected drug proceeds.

“The indictments returned this week represent the latest blow by federal and state law enforcement agencies against drug trafficking organizations in and around Austin.  As a result of these charges, we hope to take more than forty alleged drug dealers out of circulation, and expect the evidence to show that their activities involved the distribution of millions of dollars’ worth of methamphetamine, cocaine, and other illegal drugs in this community and beyond,” stated United States Attorney Robert Pitman. 

Upon conviction of the cocaine or methamphetamine conspiracy charge, the defendants face between ten years and life in federal prison; heroin conspiracy charge, defendants face between five and 40 years in federal prison; and, money laundering conspiracy charge, defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.

“The magnitude of this investigation exhibits the patience, determination and skill used by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agents and our law enforcement colleagues,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Peña.  “We are committed to staying the course until drug trafficking organizations like this one are fully dismantled.”

 “Today’s dismantlement of this trafficking organization is a further step towards making Austin a safer community,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.  “Our combined law enforcement efforts will continue to be the tool which most effectively removes organized criminals from our society.”

These cases resulted from investigations conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) along with the Central Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).  The Central Texas HIDTA is made up of investigators from the following agencies:  DEA, FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Marshals Service, Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin Police Department, Round Rock Police Department, Georgetown Police Department, Cedar Park Police Department, Temple Police Department, Travis County District Attorney’s Office, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Hays County Sheriff’s Office and the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office.  The Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Office of Inspector General and the Kingsville Specialized Crime and Narcotics Task Force also assisted in this investigation.

An indictment 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.

U.S. v. Jose Rodriguez-Campuzano, et al. -- A13CR164

Name                                                                      Age                  Residence                    Indicted Counts

**JOSE RODRIGUEZ-CAMPUZANO     26                    Austin, TX                   1,3
**JOSE HERNANDEZ                                   32                    Austin                            1,3
JESSE TREVINO                                             33                    Austin                            1
**MARIN ARIAS                                            21                     Austin                            1
**BRIAN MCCARTY                                    26                     Sanford, NC                1
**SAUL ZUNIGA                                                                  
JAIME EGUIA                                                 38                    Brownsville, TX          1         
HECTOR PAREDES                                      22                    Austin                             1                     
RODRIGO RANGEL                                      32                    Del Valle, TX               1         
JEFFREY LOEHR                                           28                    Austin                             1         
ROGELIO CASTANEDA                                           
JOSE ZAVALA                                                 48                    Duncanville, TX         1         
ENRIQUE ZAVALA                                       22                    Brownsville, TX         1
ELIAZAR GARZA                                           46                    Dallas, TX                     1
ELVIRA GAMBOA                                         35                    Austin                             1         
RAMON GAMBOA                                         40                                                             1         
GABRIEL TREVINO                                      21                    Austin                           2         
STEPHANIE BLANCO                                  20                    LaJoya, TX                1         
BLANCA BRISENO                                         55                    LaJoya, TX                1
**OSCAR REYNA                                           27                    Austin                           1
**CHRISTIAN HERNANDEZ                   19                    Houston, TX              1
GENARO ARELLANO                                   33                    Austin                           3
MARIA GRANADOS                                      45                    Austin                          3

U.S. v. Jose Escamilla, et al. – A:13CR166

JOSE ESCAMILLA                                         35                    Round Rock, TX         1,2,3
EDGAR MORALES                                        26                    Austin, TX                     1,3
**RAFAEL AYALA                                        24                    Austin                             1,2,3
**MARCO AYALA                                         32                    Austin                             1,3
**DAI ZAVALA                                               39                    Del Valle, TX              1,2,3
JOHN GARCIA                                                25                    Austin                            1,2
**TROCALLE AMOS                                    34                    Austin                           1,2,3
GREG ALLEN JAMES                                  36                    Austin                           1         
**BRIAN GRIFFIN                                        31                    Austin                           1,2
SALVADOR CABRAL                                   49                    Austin                           2
JESSICA MITCHELL                                    37                    Buda, TX                     2
DAVID COOKE                                                29                    Newark, DE                2,3
JOSUE PINEDA                                              28                                                            3
JAMES DILWORTH                                     53                    Houston, TX              3

** Were already in custody prior to yesterday’s arrests

Updated December 15, 2014