A sweeping FBI drugs operation made its way into Guadalupe County recently netting arrests of 17 people, including one from Seguin, one from New Braunfels, several from Austin, San Antonio and San Marcos, as well as suspects who lived in other Texas towns.
Michele Lee, a special agent and public affairs officer with the San Antonio FBI, confirmed that law enforcement activity took place Wednesday morning at a residence in the area of Green Valley Road and Marion Road was related to the bureau’s investigation.
“Juan Carlos Castilleja was arrested in the 9000 block of Green Valley Road by the FBI SWAT team at approximately 6 a.m. Wednesday,” Lee said.
On Friday, Lee released a written statement from the offices of United States Attorney John F. Bash of the Western District of Texas.
Federal, state and local authorities arrested 17 members and associates of the Texas Syndicate in connection with a methamphetamine and heroin trafficking operation in Central Texas, according to the statement.
A grand jury, in an indictment unsealed Wednesday, found that enough evidence existed to try the people law enforcers arrested. The arrested parties face charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, according to the news statement.
“The defendants, allegedly, conspired to distribute methamphetamine/heroin in Austin, San Marcos, Luling, Gonzales, New Braunfels, Hutto, Kenedy, Seguin, Bastrop and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, since January 2018,” the written statement read. “During this investigation, authorities seized over 100 kilograms of methamphetamine and multiple firearms attributed to this organization.”
Noemi Medina, 25, of Seguin, is among those arrested and charged. Castilleja, 29, of New Braunfels, also was charged. Medina was charged in connection with distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, while Castilleja was charged in connection with distribution of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, the statement said.
Austin residents named in the statement include: 34-year-old Roman Gabriel Luna, 33-year-old Osbellia Jimenez-Jaimes, 37-year-old Steven Klasing, 36-year-old Pascual Salazar, and 40-year-old Mexican national Julio Alvarez.
Rafael Salas, 38, of San Antonio, and 47-year-old Michael Armstead of San Marcos were among those accused of participating in the conspiracy, according to the statement.
Other suspects include 26-year-old John and Josh Vera, both of Gonzales; 46-year-old David Cantu of Gonzales; 26-year-old Ian Accord of Hutto; 21-year-old Brandon Carrasco of Kenedy; Luling residents Lisa Anzaldua, 31, and Paul Villarreal, 45; and 47-year-old Sean May of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Authorities arrested all of the suspects on Wednesday except for Alvarez, Jimenez-Jaimes, Accord and May, who were in custody prior to Wednesday’s arrests, the statement read.
Medina, Jimenez-Jaimes, Carrasco, Cantu, Accord, John Vera, Josh Vera, Anzaldua, Villarreal and May face between five and 40 years in federal prison if convicted, the statement read.
Castilleja, Luna, Salazar, Salas and Alvarez face between 10 years and life in federal prison if convicted, it read. If convicted, Armstead and Klasing face up to 20 years in a federal prison.
The possible sentences, the statement read, are based upon the suspects’ involvement, the type of drug they are accused of conspiring to deliver and the amount.
As of the time of the news release, all of the defendants remained in federal custody. Authorities expected to hold detention hearings over the next couple of weeks in U.S. Magistrate Court in Austin for each defendant except for May, the statement read.