Thirteen Indicted for Cocaine Trafficking in San Antonio Area
Thirteen individuals are charged with trafficking cocaine in the San Antonio area, announced U.S. Attorney Gregg N. Sofer and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Steven S. Whipple, Houston Division.
A federal grand jury indictment returned in San Antonio charges the following defendants with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine:
Mark Anthony Ojeda, 33, of San Antonio;
Juan Antonio Estrada aka "Tony," 37, of Ro Grande City
Lus Claudio Estrada aka “Luz,” 42, of La Joya;
Jesus Rodriguez aka “Don Chuy,” 62, of Rio Grande City;
Frank Anthony Hernandez aka “Pancho,” 36, of San Antonio;
Jose Artemio Acevedo Jr. aka “Chapparo,” 49, of Rio Grande City;
Joel Villarreal aka “Gordo,” 49, of San Antonio;
Rosalinda Flores, 54, of San Antonio;
Jonathan Linares Lumbreras aka “Coahuila,” 30, of San Antonio;
Javier Armando Casas, 40, of Pharr;
Jesus Manuel DeLuna aka “Chuy,” 48, of San Antonio;
Erik Jason Pena, 41, of San Antonio; and
Omar Cuellar, 47, of San Antonio.
The indictment also charges Ojeda with two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Further, the indictment charges Pena with an additional one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired since January 2020 to distribute cocaine. During this investigation, authorities have seized approximately 25 kilograms of cocaine, 35 firearms, two silencers, a grenade, body armor and approximately $265,000 in U.S. Currency along with other assets attributable to this organization.
“Drug dealing and violence go hand in hand. That fact is evident from the number of firearms recovered in this investigation - not to mention the silencers, grenade and body armor. Thanks to the excellent work of the DEA and our other law enforcement partners, our community is safer today,” stated U.S. Attorney Sofer.
“This indictment and arrests are the result of a joint investigation with our local, state and federal partners to neutralize a dangerous criminal organization in Texas,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Whipple. “Our ongoing effort to reduce violence and drug trafficking in our communities sends a clear message that members of these violent criminal enterprises will be held accountable for their crimes.”
On Tuesday, federal, state and local authorities arrested all of the defendants with the exception of Lumbreras, Ojeda and Flores. Agents arrested Lumbreras on Monday night. Ojeda was already in custody, and Flores has yet to be arrested.
Upon conviction of the drug conspiracy charge, Ojeda, Juan Estrada, Lus Estrada, Rodriguez, Hernandez, Acevedo, Villarreal and Flores face between 10 years and life in federal prison; Lumbreras, Casas, DeLuna and Pena face between five and 40 years in federal prison; and Cuellar faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Ojeda faces between 10 years and life in federal prison and Pena faces between five and 40 years in federal prison on the drug possession charge. Ojeda faces a mandatory five years in federal prison on the gun charge upon conviction.
It is important to note that 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.
The DEA, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Texas Department of Public Safety, San Antonio Police Department, New Braunfels Police Department, University of Texas San Antonio Police Department, Gonzales Police Department, Comal County Sheriff’s Office and the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office conducted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation called Operation Bruja’s Blunder. The U.S. Marshals Service and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office assisted with arrests. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Nowinski is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering operations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.