Presidio residents indicted in alleged drug ring
PRESIDIO, MIDLAND – Three Presidio residents were among 24 persons indicted in connection with an investigation called “Operation Communication Breakdown,” which targeted a West Texas cocaine and marijuana distribution operation, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit and United States Attorney Robert Pitman announced last week.
A federal grand jury in Midland returned the indictments charging the defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and/or marijuana and included Presidio residents Itsmira Bustamante, 26, Esqueil Hernandez, 42, and Laura Carrasco, 42.
Court documents allege that since January 2009, the defendants, including 31-year-old Benjamin Valeriano Jr. of Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico were responsible for the distribution of more than 228 pounds of cocaine and 46 pounds of marijuana from January 2010 to the present.
Bustamante and Carrasco have been arrested, but Hernandez remains a fugitive from justice, Diana Apodaca, DEA El Paso field division special agent said Wednesday.
The other defendants charged in the drug conspiracy include 25-year-old Adam J. Seijas of Odessa, 24-year-old Samuel Vasquez Urias of Odessa; 49-year-old Juan Ramon Adame of Odessa; 55-year-old Pedro Gomez of Midland; 31-year-old Jeffrey V. Gonzalez of Odessa; 28-year-old Manuel A. Tercero Ruvalcaba of Odessa; 46-year-old Martin Gomez of Odessa; 39-year-old Sandra Rocha-Tarrango of Odessa; 30-year-old Vincent Flores of Odessa; 43-year-old Armando Gardea of Odessa; 29-year-old Refugia Jurado Gamboa of Lubbock, Texas; 34-year-old Pauline Gamboa-Ross of Lubbock; 45-year-old Rojelio Rayos Castillo of Odessa; 23-year-old Maria Tarango of Odessa; 36-year-old Busillo Cervantes of Odessa; 27-year-old Edgar Valencia of Odessa; 39-year-old Enrique Quinonez Juarez of Ojinaga; 35-year-old Taquanan Gerrod Bergen of Odessa; 39-year-old Jesus Ortiz Alcantar of Mexico; and 31-year-old Adolfo Porras of Odessa.
If convicted, the defendants face between 10 years to life in federal prison.
In another matter, 67-year-old Jimmy Wayne Wright, owner of B&L Adult Bookstore in Odessa, faces federal drug charges. Wright was arrested last week by Drug Enforcement Administration agents while executing several search warrants.
A seven-count federal grand jury indictment – returned on January 25 – charges Wright with possession and distribution of products knowing that they would be used in the manufacture of cocaine. The indictment alleges that since January 2007, Wright has continuously possessed or kept in stock for purchase at his business various commonly used cutting agents for cocaine, namely inositol, lidocaine, mannitol and “Bolivian Rock” incense.
The indictment also contains a notice of criminal forfeiture whereby the Government is seeking to forfeit any property used to facilitate the alleged offense or derived from the alleged offense.
During this investigation, authorities have seized about $727,000 from a bank account associated with Wright, $300,000 in cash, a $45,000 check made payable to Wright and several weapons.
“In these investigations, DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners targeted various aspects of the cocaine trade in the Midland/Odessa area,” said Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-El Paso Division.
“In addition to pursuing members of an organization responsible for distributing significant quantities of cocaine, we went after facilitators who provide dealers with products used to ‘cut’ or dilute cocaine prior to further distribution,” he said.
This investigation was conducted by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Department of Public Safety, Midland County Sheriff’s Department, Ector County Sheriff’s Department and the Midland Police Department.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Klassen, Brandi Young and William Tatum.