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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Federal, State and Local Authorities Arrest 18 Individuals Today Based on Federal Drug Trafficking Indictment Returned in Austin

This morning, federal, state and local authorities arrested 18 individuals without incident on federal drug charges stemming from a narcotics trafficking investigation announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division; Acting IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui; Texas Department of Safety Director Steven McCraw; Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler; and, Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix. 

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed today charges those defendants, and ten other individuals who were already in custody prior to today, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  Count one involves methamphetamine, count two involves cocaine and count three involves heroin.  Count four of the indictment is a money laundering charge.  A complete list of defendants is below.

During the course of the conspiracy, Luis Villagrana and Carlos Garcia-Duark, were leaders of the distribution cells operating in Austin, TX.  Authorities allege that members of the organization utilized a local mechanic’s shop to unload, distribute, and ship drugs to sales and distribution points in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Minnesota, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

During this investigation, law enforcement agents in several jurisdictions seized a combined total of approximately 148 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, some 56 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, 62 pounds of cocaine, 13 pounds of heroin, and $400,000 in U.S. currency.

Upon conviction, the defendants face sentences of between five and 40 years in federal prison or up to life in federal prison depending on the amount of controlled substances involved.  Defendants face up to 20 years imprisonment upon conviction for money laundering.

The DEA Austin Resident Office, FBI Austin, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin Police Department, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, and Cedar Park Police Department investigated this case.  Agencies providing assistance during this investigation include: Round Rock Police Department; Georgetown Police Department; Lakeway Police Department; Williamson County Sheriff’s Office; Travis County Sheriff’s Office; Rockwall Police Department; Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office; Travis County District Attorney’s Office; Bell County District Attorney’s Office; Williamson County District Attorney’s Office, Bastrop County District Attorney’s Office, DEA (McAllen, Milwaukee Field Office, Brownsville, Eagle Pass, Dallas Division, Houston Division and Houston SRT); FBI (McAllen); Homeland Security Investigations (Austin); U.S. Border Patrol (Del Rio Sector) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Guess and Matt Harding are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

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. Luis Villagrana-Martinez, et al.
Case #: A18cr91            

Name                                                   Age      Residence                    Count(s)           Statutory Maximum Penalty

Luis Villagrana                                     32        Leander, TX                 1 - 4                 life imprisonment
Furqan Rashid Sunka                            34        Austin, TX                   2, 4                  life imprisonment
Lauro Toledo                                       30        Austin                          2                      life imprisonment
**Blanca Davila-Puente                         35        Mission                        2, 4                   life imprisonment
**Silvia Cerda-Gonzalez                      49        Michoacán, MX           2, 3, 4               life imprisonment
**Daniel Hernandez                             30        Austin                          2, 4                  life imprisonment
**Anthony Taylor                                45        Pflugerville, TX            2                      40 years imprisonment
**Victor Vargas-Osorio                        25        Austin                          2                      40 years imprisonment
Juan Vasquez                                       69        Brownsville, TX           2                      life imprisonment
Maria Del Pilar Barcenas                      47        Brownsville                 2                      life imprisonment
Lauro Jaimes                                        32        Llano, TX                    1                      life imprisonment
**Rigoberto Vences Bautista                39        Austin                          2                      life imprisonment
Martin Benitez                                     38        Austin                          2                      life imprisonment
**Francisco Gonzalez                           30        Mission                        2                      40 years imprisonment
Esperanza Gerardo                               40        Mission                        2                      life imprisonment
Albert Villagrana                                  19        Leander                       2, 4                  life imprisonment
Jesus Ocampo                                      33        Austin                          2, 4                  40 years imprisonment
Mike Vertacnik                                    30        Austin                          2                      life imprisonment
**Marques Taylor Nunley                    27        Austin                          2                      40 years imprisonment
Rebecca Anaya                                    26        Austin                          2, 3                  40 years imprisonment
Claudia Lara-Escalante                         26        Houston, TX                4                      20 years imprisonment
Leovigildo Martinez                             27        Austin                          2, 3                  life imprisonment
Carlos Garcia-Duarte                            40        Dale, TX                      1, 2, 3               life imprisonment
**Arturo Juarez-Osorio                        36        Austin                          2                      life imprisonment
**Eduardo Flores-Parra                        27        Austin                          1, 2                  life imprisonment
Rafael Garcia-Duarte                            27        Dale                             1                      life imprisonment
Jose DeJesus Gonzalez                         27        Austin                          1, 2                  life imprisonment
Gerardo Arroyo                                     29        Pflugerville                  2                      40 years imprisonment

** Already in custody prior to today

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated March 28, 2018