Two Investigations in Waco and Bell County Areas Net 16 Arrests Today on Federal Firearms and Narcotics Trafficking Charges
This morning, federal and state authorities arrested 16 individuals stemming from two separate investigations into narcotics trafficking in the Waco and Bell County areas, announced United States Attorney John F. Bash; FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division; Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden; Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw; Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt; McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara; and, Lacy Lakeview Police Chief John Truehitt.
The first investigation, conducted by FBI, DEA, TXDPS, Waco Police Department, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office and Lacy Lakeview Police Department, resulted in nine (9) arrests today and three (3) prior arrests based on five (5) federal grand jury indictments unsealed today in Waco. During this investigation, authorities seized approximately two kilograms of methamphetamine, four kilograms of cocaine, approximately $50,000 in U.S. Currency, four firearms (including a Mini Draco AK47 assault style pistol), several pounds of marijuana and several hundred THC vaping pens. Also in regards to this investigation, authorities today seized seven (7) firearms, including two (2) AR-15’s (one with night vision equipment), one (1) AK47 pistol, and one (1) AK47 rifle, and approximately $3,600 in U.S. Currency.
- XAVIER ANGELO HERNANDEZ, et al. INDICTMENT – W19cr258
This indictment charges eight (8) defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine in the Waco area since September 2018. Each defendant faces between ten years and life in federal prison upon conviction. Individuals charged in the Hernandez indictment include:
Name, Age, Residence
Xavier Angelo Hernandez (aka “X”), 23, Waco
**Steven Matthew Ochoa, 29, Waco
Julio Cesar Cruz, 26, Waco
Martin Zuniga, Jr., 19, Waco
Gaspar Sardaneta Martinez (aka “Garza”), 28, Waco
Carline Stone Bolding, 49, Elm Mott, TX
Cheryl Ann Flanagan (aka “Cheryl Guajardo “), 40, Waco
Sabrina Maria Sardaneta, 28, Robinson, TX
- CHRISTOPHER MIKEL CLARK INDICTMENT – W19cr256
This indictment charges Christopher Mikel Clark (aka “Little Chris”), age 20 of Waco, with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Clark faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison upon conviction. In June 2019, authorities executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence where they recovered marijuana and a Mini Draco AK47 assault style pistol.
- JOSEPH RYAN EDWARDS INDICTMENT – W19cr257
This indictment charges Joseph Ryan Edwards, age 26 of Waco, with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Edwards faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison upon conviction. During a traffic stop in June 2019, law enforcement searched the defendant’s vehicle and found a .380 caliber pistol, 41 THC Oil pens, and approximately $2,900.00 in U.S. Currency.
- STEVEN MATTHEW OCHOA INDICTMENT – W19cr260
This indictment charges previously named defendant, Steven Ochoa, with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. Ochoa faces between five years and 40 years in federal prison upon conviction. In August 2019, Ochoa was arrested with four (4) kilos of cocaine and approximately $16,000 in U.S. Currency.
- AMOR ESPERANZA ZUNIGA, et al. INDICTMENT – W19CR271
This indictment charges **Amor Esperanza Zuniga (aka “Stony Zuniga”), age 19 of Waco, with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The indictment also charges Zuniga and **Heraclio Santos Carreon, age 41 of Waco, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Each drug charge calls for between five years and 40 years in federal prison upon conviction. The firearms charge calls for a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison upon conviction. During a traffic stop on July 21, 2019, authorities searched the defendants’ vehicle and discovered approximately 100 grams of methamphetamine and an RG 14, .22 caliber revolver.
**Defendants Steven Ochoa, Amor Zuniga and Heraclio Carreon were already in custody prior to today.
The second investigation, conducted by TXDPS, FBI, DEA and HSI, resulted in seven (7) arrests today stemming from a single federal grand jury indictment unsealed today in Waco.
GERMAN ZARZOZA MORENO, et al. INDICTMENT – W19cr259
Today, authorities arrested seven (7) individuals charged in this indictment. They are:
Name, Age, Residence
German Zarzoza Moreno, 33, Temple, TX
Raul Montes, 47, Galena Park, TX
Jaime Estrada, Jr., 20, Temple
Jesus Alberto Garcia Zuniga, 25, Temple
Erik Enrique Hernandez, 32, Temple
Luis Carlos Jimenez, Jr., 26, Temple
Ezequiel Orozco, 29, Temple
This indictment charges Moreno, Montes and Estrada with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. Zuniga and Hernandez are only charged in the cocaine conspiracy count. Jimenez and Orozco are only charged in the methamphetamine conspiracy count. Those charged in the methamphetamine conspiracy face between ten years and life in federal prison upon conviction. Those charged in the cocaine conspiracy face between five and 40 years in federal prison. Under the direction of Moreno and Montes, the defendants allegedly distributed cocaine and methamphetamine in the Temple area since May 2018.
In regards to this investigation, authorities conducted a coordinated search/arrest operation today in the Temple and Houston areas. Today’s operation resulted in the seizure of approximately 2,853 grams of cocaine, 8.4 grams of ecstasy, and 31.9 grams of marijuana. Authorities also seized a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol, a false battery compartment, a kilogram press, and several other items indicative of distribution and transportation of cocaine and methamphetamine.
The U.S. Marshals Service provided valuable assistance with today’s arrests. All of those arrested today remain in federal custody. Detention hearings are expected to occur next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Manske in Waco.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Blanton and Stephanie Smith-Burris are prosecuting these cases on behalf of the Government.
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.