2012-05-09 / Front Page

DEA makes multi-million dollar raid at three Atascosa homes

Pictured with DEA Supervisor Special Agent Nancy Sanford is Chief Deputy David Soward and Pleasanton Police Chief Gary Soward. Pictured with DEA Supervisor Special Agent Nancy Sanford is Chief Deputy David Soward and Pleasanton Police Chief Gary Soward. United Stated Attorney Robert Pitman and DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier Pena announced the arrest of, and federal grand jury indictment against, eleven individuals in connection with a multi-million dollar drug trafficking operation.

Those arrested include: Jose Villegas- Martinez, age 46; Andrew Martinez, age 28; Israel Castillo, age27; Delfina Castillion, age 44; Robert Vicente Ochoa, age 48; Juan Jaime Trevino, age 26; Julio Villegas, age 20; Avelino Villegas- Martinez, age 44; Abel Pacheco, age 31; Juan Vicente Medina, age 37; and Jose Villegas Jr., age 28.

The indictment, returned on April 4, 2012, and unsealed yesterday, charges those arrested with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Other charges contained in the indictment include conspiracy to commit money laundering plus aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Upon the indictment, between February 2011 and April 2012, the defendants were involved in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. During that same time period, the indictment alleges that the defendants Jose Villegas- Martinez, Andrew Martinez, Israel Castillo, Julio Villegas, Avelino Villegas-Martinez, Juan Vicente Medina and Jose Villegas Jr., conspired to collect, conceal in hidden vehicle compartments, and return to the Republic of Mexico, the monetary proceeds derived from the sale of the cocaine in North Carolina and elsewhere. The indictment also seeks a monetary judgment against the defendants in the amount of $2,362,500, representing alleged proceeds derived from the defendants’ cocaine distribution scheme. During this investigation, authorities have seized approximately 100 kilograms of cocaine and more than $1.5 million in United States currency.

At 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, May 1, 2012, four residences were simultaneously raided by Federal, State and local law enforcement officers. Three of the homes were in Atascosa County, one on FM 3175 near Lytle, one off of FM 476 between Poteet and Somerset and the third one was between Poteet and Pleasanton. The fourth residence was a short distance into Bexar County between Lytle and Somerset.

Upon conviction of the drug conspiracy charge, the defendants face between ten years and life in federal prison. It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This indictment resulted from an investigation conducted by agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration together with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation, Texas Attorney General’s Office and the police departments from San Antonio, Leon Valley, Pleasanton, Natalia and the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office. Atascosa County Chief Deputy Sheriff David Soward added that the large scale investigation conducted by a San Antonio based federal & local drug task force, is very significant for our area. Although a majority of the cocaine was being shipped to points north, some was being distributed locally. Seizures were made by sheriff’s deputies and Pleasanton Police during the investigation, Soward said, “We have been working with the H.I.D.T.A. drug unit for over a year and will continue to do so in the future.” This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Greg Surovic.

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