Thirteen Drug Traffickers Sentenced to More than 235 Years Combined in Federal Prison | USAO-NDTX

Thirteen individuals with ties to a Mexican drug cartel have been sentenced to federal prison following an investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.

The thirteenth defendant, 30-year-old Jorge Llanas of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle to a total of 28 years confinement on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

Each defendant charged has pleaded guilty and sentenced to their respective roles in a drug distribution conspiracy and money laundering scheme that operated in North Texas, Mexico, and elsewhere from March of 2018 to August of 2018.  These defendants were associates or members of a Dallas based drug trafficking organization with ties to a cartel in Mexico associated with the Zeta Cartel.

During the investigation, agents seized more than 55 kilos of cocaine with a wholesale value of $1,457,500, 92 kilos of methamphetamine with a wholesale value of $570,400, and 822.8 pounds of marijuana.  Cash seizures in this case totaled $145,229.

According to court documents, some defendant’s in this case imported the cocaine and methamphetamine from a Mexican based drug cartel with prior ties to Los Zetas.  Large quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana were then stored at an apartment located in the Dallas Design District.  The defendants would sell drugs locally throughout the Dallas area before transporting the drug proceeds to other areas of the country.  The money from the sale of these controlled substances was then sent back to cocaine and methamphetamine suppliers in Mexico.

“We will not allow drug traffickers, members or their affiliates to bring their nefarious and deadly activities into our neighborhoods,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Shah.  “Working with our state and local partners and using the tools of our Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, we are determined to dismantle drug trafficking networks.”

“For years, Los Zetas, and its successor, El Cártel del Noreste, have tried to use the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as a hub to distribute drugs throughout the United States,” stated DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge, Eduardo A. Chávez.  “These convictions and prison terms should send a strong message to others that drug trafficking and its related violent crimes are not welcome here.  DEA Dallas and our partners at the Texoma HIDTA as well as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, will continue to identify, disrupt, and destroy, these criminal organizations that choose to distribute drugs to our streets.”

The defendants sentenced in connection with this case are as follows:

  • Chrystian Hernandez, 23, Dallas, Texas

Sentenced on October 8, 2020 to 10 years in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiring to launder monetary instruments.

  • Veronica Angeles, 51, Fort Worth, Texas

Sentenced on September 28, 2020 to 97 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

  • Jose Sanchez, 36, of Little Elm, Texas

Sentenced on June 25, 2020 to 151 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

  • Cesar Ortiz, 40, Chihuahua, Mexico

Sentenced on September 8, 2020 to 46 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder monetary instruments.

  • Jakovan Lewis, 39, Desoto, Texas

Sentenced on September 2, 2020 to 70 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

  • Roberto Rodriguez Salinas, 39, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Sentenced on June 12, 2020 to 57 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiring to possess with intent to distribute.

  • Marcus Morones, 58, Dallas, Texas

Sentenced 0n May 6, 2020 to 41 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

  • Jose Guadalupe Silva, 32, Dallas, Texas

Sentenced on August 23, 2019, to 210 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

  • Moris Franco, 34, Dallas, Texas

Sentenced on March 3, 2021 to 135 months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

  • Daniel Don Juan, 30, Cleburne, Texas

Sentenced on March 16, 2021 to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

  • Tomas Salinas, 51, Dallas, Texas

Sentenced on March 17, 2021 to 210 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

  • Pete Torres, 31, Dallas, Texas

Sentenced on March 25, 2021 to 46 months in federal prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

All of the defendants arrested have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced and one defendant remains a fugitive.

The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Investigation and was investigated by a Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (DEA HIDTA) task force.  DEA, the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, Irving Police Department, Richardson Police Department, and Carrollton Police Department all assisted in the investigation of this case.

The OCDETF program was established in 1982 in order to attack and reduce the supply of illegal drugs entering the United States and to diminish violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade.  The OCDETF program works with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to identify, disrupt, and dismantle, drug traffickers and drug trafficking networks.  Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found here.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys George Leal and Rachael Jones were in charge of these prosecutions.

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