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