Federal, state and local authorities have arrested 17 members and associates of the Texas Syndicate in connection with a methamphetamine trafficking operation in central Texas announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, and Gonzales Police Chief Tim Crow.
“Seven of those arrested had been known to us prior,” Crow said. “I think this will have a positive impact in some of the neighborhoods that have been experiencing trouble.”
A federal grand jury indictment, returned in Austin and unsealed yesterday, charges those arrested with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The defendants, allegedly, conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Austin, San Marcos, Luling, Gonzales, New Braunfels, Bastrop and Tuscaloosa, AL, areas since January 2018. During this investigation, authorities seized over 100 kilograms of methamphetamine and multiple firearms.
Defendants who are charged in this indictment include:
*13 defendants were arrested Sept. 4. Alvarez, Jimenez-Jaimes, Accord, and May were already in custody prior to Sept. 4.
Upon conviction of the drug trafficking charge: Castilleja, Luna, Salazar, Salas and Alvarez face between 10 years and life in federal prison; Jimenez-Jaimes, Carrasco, Cantu, Accord, John Vera, Josh Vera, Anzaldua, Medina, Villarreal and May face between five and 40 years in federal prison; Armstead and Klasing face up to 20 years in federal prison based on their involvement, drug type and drug amount involved.
All of the defendants remain in federal custody. Detention hearings are expected to occur over the next two weeks in U.S. Magistrate Court in Austin for all defendants except May.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This case resulted from an investigation conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, Austin Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Gonzales Police Department. Agencies assisting in making arrests include: Karnes County Sheriff’s Office, Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office, Comal County metro Narcotics Task Force, San Marcos Police Department, Hays County Narcotics Task Force and the San Antonio Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matt Harding and Dan Guess are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.