drug smuggling

Nine Are Arrested for Smuggling Drugs in South East Texas

By Peek & Toland on June 6, 2018

Smuggling drugs is a serious federal offense that typically crosses state lines. A recent operation by agents led to the arrest of nine people accused of trafficking drugs throughout southern Texas and into neighboring Louisiana.

In November 2017, The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas named nine people accused of participating in a drug trafficking operation stretching from Cameron County to Houston and Louisiana.

A report on ValleyCentral.com noted The FBI and DEA spent about two years looking into the case, assisted by Homeland Security Investigations, Border Patrol and local law enforcement agencies.

In November, federal agents raided a home in the Laureles area connected to the case.

Smuggling drugs in Texas

Arrests take place for smuggling drugs in Texas

Federal investigators claimed Ramon Montoya, 42, of Brownsville masterminded a major drug trafficking operation. They claim the defendants moved marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine around in Texas and Louisiana.

Drug trafficking is a serious offense characterized by high profile arrests. In Houston, four men were charged with these offenses in the spring.

The penalties for trafficking a controlled drug in Texas depend on factors including the class of drug being distributed, the amount of the drug possessed and the number of previous offenses committed by a defendant.

However, when federal charges are brought, even a first time offender faces a minimum of 10 years in a federal prison.

Drug trafficking operations may involve many states. In December 2017, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation announced a months-long drug investigation involving authorities in that state and Texas resulted in 20 arrests.

A CBS station reported the drug trafficking organization was allegedly selling massive amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine.

The massive investigation involved U.S. Homeland Security (HSI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and four North Carolina police and sheriffs’ offices.

CBS reported the operation started with undercover meth buys that led to sources of supply in Texas, according to the SBI. Investigators in North Carolina said DEA operatives in Austin, Texas were working on an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that was probing the same North Carolina-based group.

If you have been accused of smuggling drugs or trafficking in Texas, please contact our Austin criminal defense attorneys or see our drugs and narcotics resources.

Posted in Drug Crimes

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Drug Smuggling Rises on the Border as Human Trafficking Falls

By Peek & Toland on November 16, 2017

Drug smuggling appears to be rising at the border between the United States and Mexico as human trafficking falls due to tougher enforcement.

A Fox News report in May explored how the Mexican cartels may be responding to the decline in human smuggling by boosting drug smuggling.

Like any large corporation that responds to a sagging line of revenue, the Mexican cartels who control the border have replaced a decline in human smuggling with an increase in drug smuggling, the report stated.

Fox quoted border agents who said the cartels are seeking to replace their lost revenues from human smuggling with narcotics money.

Border sees drug smuggling rise

Drug smuggling increases at the border

Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro in the Rio Grande in South Texas said:

“They need to make their profits somewhere. They were making so much money from human trafficking. Now that’s at a near all-time low, so they’re trying to make money on narcotics…marijuana, meth, and cocaine.”

The trend is most obvious in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas but is being seen elsewhere, according to the Fox report.

It noted the marked decline in the smuggling of families who come to the United States from Central America where gang crime and poverty is rife.

The smuggling of families from Central America plummeted from about 15,000 a month before the election of Donald Trump in November to less than 1,000 today.

The so-called “Trump effect” appears to have impacted illegal immigration, according to CNBC. In March fewer than 12,500 people were apprehended at the border, a 17-year low.  The Trump administration claimed credit due to the president’s strong stance on immigration.

Could Strong Anti-Immigration Stance Be Boosting Drug Smuggling?

Border Patrol figures point to an increase in drugs coming across the border. Since January 2017, seizures of cocaine rose 129 percent while methamphetamine was up 150 percent.

Officers say they have seen narcotics disguised as fruit such as limes, watermelons, and mangos. They have been apprehended in the gas tanks of cars and in milk containers.

In May, officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge intercepted a consignment of liquid methamphetamine with a street value of $3.8 million hidden in the gas tank of a Chevy Silverado.

Drug trafficking and the distribution of paraphernalia is a dealt with in the federal courts and taken very seriously. Recently a man from the Houston area was sentenced to 11 years for the crime in the federal courts. Read more about it here on our website.

If you or a family member has been charged with drug trafficking, please call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes

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