San Antonio man whose sentence was previously commuted once again arrested on federal drug charges

 

Date: December 10, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Federal, state and local authorities have arrested eight individuals on federal drug trafficking charges, including Texas Syndicate lieutenant Hilario Nieto whose sentence President Barack Obama previously commuted.

Those arrested Tuesday include Hilario Nieto (aka "Shorty") of San Antonio; Daniel Castaneda of San Antonio; Joe Sanchez of San Antonio; Melissa Molina of San Antonio; Deanna Diaz of San Antonio; former Texas Mexican Mafia member Martin Reynosa of San Antonio; and Maria Rivas of San Antonio. Texas Syndicate Lieutenant Danny Rivas (aka "Pelon," "Klumzee"), of San Antonio, was previously arrested on this indictment.

An eight-count federal indictment charges the above-named defendants with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. In addition, Danny Rivas is charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Castaneda and Molina are also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The indictment also charges Reynosa and Maria Rivas with five counts of possession with intent to distribute heroin.

The indictment alleges that the defendants have conspired since June 2019 to distribute methamphetamine and heroin in the San Antonio area. Search warrants executed in conjunction with arrest warrants resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine, heroin and two firearms.

In 2004, Nieto was sentenced to 248 months in federal prison on drug charges in the Western District of Texas. Scheduled to be released in 2021, President Barack Obama commuted Nieto's sentence in 2016. The commutation was effective August 2018.

IRS-Criminal Investigation assisted the DEA and DPS Criminal Investigations in conducting this investigation, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Marshals Service, Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Seguin Police Department, Terrell Hills Police Department and the Bexar County District Attorney's Office.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation called Operation Blended Familia. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.

Upon conviction of the methamphetamine related charges, the defendants face between 10 years and life in federal prison. Upon conviction of the heroin-related charges, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.

All of the defendants remain in federal custody. Those arrested on Tuesday are expected to have their detention hearings in U.S. Magistrate court in San Antonio beginning next week.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Ella Spears is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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.