Federal, state and local authorities have arrested 17 members and associates of the Texas Syndicate in connection with a methamphetamine/heroin trafficking operation in central Texas announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, and Gonzales Police Chief Tim Crow.
A federal grand jury indictment, returned in Austin and unsealed yesterday, charges those arrested with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The defendants, allegedly, conspired to distribute methamphetamine/heroin in Austin, San Marcos, Luling, Gonzales, New Braunfels, Hutto, Kenedy, Seguin, Bastrop and Tuscaloosa, AL, since January 2018. During this investigation, authorities seized over 100 kilograms of methamphetamine and multiple firearms attributed to this organization.
Defendants who are charged in this indictment include:
Juan Carlos Castilleja, age 29 of New Braunfels, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine;
Roman Gabriel Luna, age 34 of Austin, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine/one kilogram of heroin;
*Julio Alvarez, a 40-year-old Mexican National residing in Austin, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine;
*Osbellia Jimenez-Jaimes, age 33 of Austin, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
Brandon Carrasco, age 21 of Kenedy, TX, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
David Cantu, age 46 of Gonzales, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
*Ian Accord, age 26 of Hutto, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
John Vera, age 26 of Gonzales, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
Josh Vera, age 26 of Gonzales, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
Lisa Anzaldua, age 31 of Luling, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
Noemi Medina, age 25 of Seguin, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
Paul Villarreal, age 45 of Luling, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
*Sean May, age 47 of Tuscaloosa, AL, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine/100 grams or more of heroin;
Michael Armstead, age 47 of San Marcos, less than 50 grams of methamphetamine;
Steven Klasing, age 37 of Austin, less than 50 grams of methamphetamine/less than 100 grams of heroin;
Rafael Salas, age 38 of San Antonio, one kilogram or more of heroin; and,
Pascual Salazar, age 36 of Austin, one kilogram or more of heroin.
*13 defendants were arrested yesterday. Alvarez, Jimenez-Jaimes, Accord, and May were already in custody prior to yesterday.
Upon conviction of the drug trafficking charge: Castilleja, Luna, Salazar, Salas and Alvarez face between ten years and life in federal prison; Jimenez-Jaimes, Carrasco, Cantu, Accord, John Vera, Josh Vera, Anzaldua, Medina, Villarreal and May face between five and 40 years in federal prison; Armstead and Klasing face up to 20 years in federal prison based on their involvement, drug type and drug amount involved.
All of the defendants remain in federal custody. Detention hearings are expected to occur over the next two weeks in U.S. Magistrate Court in Austin for all defendants except May.
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.
This case resulted from an investigation conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Austin Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Gonzales Police Department. Agencies assisting in making arrests include: Karnes County Sheriff’s Office, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office, Comal County metro Narcotics Task Force, San Marcos Police Department, Hays County Narcotics Task Force and the San Antonio Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Harding and Dan Guess are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.