A two-year investigation netted 21 federal indictments and the arrest of several suspects during early morning raids Tuesday in the Seguin area.
An investigation that stretched to northern parts of Texas and into Mexico ended with 12 people arrested — including one suspect believed to head up the local criminal enterprise, Seguin Police Chief Terry Nichols said. The operations will put a major dent in the drug trade in and around Seguin, Nichols said.
“I think this will present a significant impact on our drug availability here,” he said. “If people don’t think what happens with the cartels south of the border doesn’t affect us, this is a direct impact of the cartels.”
Raids were conducted about 6 a.m. and investigators from multiple agencies served search warrants and arrest warrants at several locations, the chief said. The man suspected as the criminal organization’s ring leader, Jesse Escobedo, was arrested in such a raid in the 700 block of Geronimo Drive in Geronimo, Nichols said.
Members of the Guadalupe County SWAT team used flash-bang devices and broke out windows of a residence on the property before arresting Escobedo alone, Nichols said, adding that the suspect was taken into custody “very peacefully” at the modest-looking home that had surveillance cameras installed in areas of the property.
“That was one of his distribution points,” Nichols said.
About 100 law enforcement officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office, Seguin Police Department and more worked together in a joint operation that started in 2017 with Seguin Police Department detectives, Nichols said. Investigators called in the DEA when they realized the scope of what they were learning, he said.
The inter-agency support is being felt in Seguin, and the bad guys are starting to take notice, Nichols said his undercover detectives are hearing on the streets.
“We’re starting to hear from the crooks that they don’t want to do business in Guadalupe County, which is outstanding,” he said. “They’re hearing we have a task force.”
As part of Tuesday’s operation, investigators served a handful of arrest warrants in Seguin and a few search warrants in the area, Nichols said. He said investigators served a search warrant at a home Escobedo owns with his wife in the 3000 block of Prairie Bluff in the Mill Creek Crossing subdivision.
The effects of Tuesday’s actions will reverberate throughout this community, Nichols said.
“It’s going to be huge,” he said. “We’re taking kilos and kilos of methamphetamine off the streets. It’s coming from Geronimo to this community, not going to some other community.”
Nichols did not provide an age for Escobedo, whom he called the main suspect of the investigation.
The Seguin Gazette will update more on the situation following the press conference at 11 a.m.