Listen Live
Listen Live

On Air Now

Sunday Gospel Music
Sunday Gospel Music

On Air Next

Brushwood Media Network
Brushwood Media Network

Feds charge 41 in drug-trafficking ring tied to cartel

SHARE NOW

Agents arrested 23 people in relation to a cartel-linked drug operation in Texas that dealt in cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth.

The arrests came after a five-year investigation that started in 2019. Prosecutors said the drug ring operated in the Houston and Galveston areas and was under the control of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

Prosecutors alleged that from Dec. 28, 2018, to April 22, 2020, members of the group operated and distributed drugs smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

“DEA’s number one operational priority is to save lives by defeating the Mexican drug cartels responsible for the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced. The Jalisco Cartel’s drugs and violence threaten the health and safety of Americans everywhere,” Administrator Anne Milgram of the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a statement. “The DEA will continue to target and defeat the cartels’ U.S. distributors, like the Zamudio-Mendoza organization, which fuel drug poisonings and violent crimes across our communities. This DEA-led investigation has saved lives in Texas, and across the country, by disrupting their operations and seizing their deadly drugs, cash and assets.”

The leader of one of these groups, Roque Zamudio-Mendoza, 52, of Mexico, was the main source of drugs smuggled into the United States, according to the charges.

Other co-conspirators allegedly distributed the narcotics in the Houston and Galveston, Texas, areas to other locations throughout the country, including New Orleans; Pensacola, Florida; Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; and Chicago.

The indictment, returned Dec. 14, 2023, also seeks forfeiture of any illegal proceeds of the alleged crimes, estimated at $10 million. To date, records indicate authorities have seized about 1,212 pounds of meth, 548 pounds of cocaine, 74 pounds of heroin, 11 pounds of pentobarbital, and 22,600 fentanyl-laced pills. As part of the arrests, they also allegedly found nine firearms and several Rolex watches and cash, including $190,000 seized during a traffic stop in Porter, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Pentobarbital is a short-acting barbiturate typically used as a sedative. Doctors sometimes use it before anesthetics or to control convulsions.

During the law enforcement operation authorities arrested a total of 20 people. They joined three people who were previously in custody. Two are now dead. Zamudio-Mendoza, who is believed to be in Mexico, and 15 others are still at large, and warrants remain outstanding for their arrests, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

All were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and meth and face up to life in prison. Each is also charged in varying counts to include conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, laundering of monetary instruments, possession with intent to distribute meth, heroin, fentanyl, and/or cocaine.

Some of the defendants have already made their appearances in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison. Others are set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Galveston or Wednesday at either 11 a.m. or 2 p.m in Houston.

All are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and meth and face up to life in prison. Each is also charged in varying counts to include conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, laundering of monetary instruments, possession with intent to distribute meth, heroin, fentanyl, and/or cocaine.