Drug trafficking is a crime that often crosses state and national borders. It’s usually investigated at a federal level. Recently, four men were arrested for allegedly drug trafficking in Houston.
A report in The Examiner stated acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston made an announcement on March 7 that four people were arrested. They were charged with drug trafficking in the Eastern District of Texas, after a lengthy investigation.
An indictment was returned by a federal grand jury. It was unsealed on March 1. The four men who appeared before a U.S. magistrate charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and conspiracy to money launder were Harry Martinez, 41, Alexander Ramirez Valencia, 43, and Jeihka Angelica Cuero, 24, all from Colombia. The fourth man is Carlos Ivan Calderon Rosado, 52, of Puerto Rico.
The indictment accuses the men of distributing heroin through Southeastern Texas to the New Orleans area for three years from about 2014 until February 2017. Law enforcement teams seized 10 kilograms of heroin and $386,000 cash in raids.
The four men were living in Houston in Texas. Ramirez and Martinez and were reported to be awaiting final deportation hearings at the time they were picked up. The defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted of drug trafficking in Houston and elsewhere.
On our website we note the stiff penalties people accused of drug trafficking face at a federal level. Often people who have no prior criminal convictions face as long as 10 years in prison if they are convicted of drug trafficking.
The arrests come at a time when heroin deaths are spiking in the United States and the authorities are determined to make an example of drug traffickers.
Acting U.S. Attorney Featherston said in a press release:
“Heroin use in the United States has reached a 20 year high according to the 2016 World Drug Report issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2016 saw the number of overdose drug deaths exceeded 50,000. This number is more than violent gun deaths, and more than car crash related fatalities reported in 2016.”
This case against the four men is being prosecuted under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) as part of a joint investigation. The task force has pledged to disrupt, identify and break up serious drug trafficking organizations and to bring the drug traffickers to justice. Other bodies joined forces with the feds in the investigation including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Houston Police Department, and the Beaumont Police Department.
The influx of cheap heroin from Mexico has been linked to a rise in crime in the United States.
One of the theories for this is the fragmentation of the Sinaloa Cartel. The gang was the largest player in the heroin market but the arrest of its kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in 2014 left a vacuum that was filled by warring gangs in cities like Chicago.
If you have been arrested for drug trafficking, you can expect a harsh sentence if convicted. You should hire experienced Austin criminal defense lawyers as soon as possible. Call us at (512) 399-2311.