Twenty-two indicted for drug trafficking in San Antonio area

 

Date: April 15, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Twenty-two defendants from San Antonio, Del Rio and Laredo face federal drug trafficking charges, announced U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux, Houston Division.

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed today charges the following defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance:

  • Matthew Noe Arteaga, of San Antonio;
  • Nicolas Rodriguez, of San Antonio;
  • Bryan Anthony Brown, of San Antonio;
  • Brian Victorino Chavarria, of San Antonio;
  • Oscar Oviedo, of San Antonio;
  • Joseph Richard Guerrero, of San Antonio;
  • Homero Garcia, of San Antonio;
  • Jesus Gerardo Vasquez, of San Antonio;
  • Jesse Martinez, of San Antonio;
  • Justin Paul Guerrero, of San Antonio;
  • Ricardo Gonzalez, of San Antonio;
  • Juan Carlos Robles, of San Antonio;
  • Fernando Jose Moreno, of San Antonio;
  • Rene Palafos, of San Antonio;
  • Michael Barron, of San Antonio;
  • Oswaldo Jesus Lopez, of Laredo;
  • Oscar Jesus Lopez, of Laredo;
  • Javier Garcia Lopez, of San Antonio;
  • Jose De Jesus Garcia, of San Antonio;
  • Madilyn Marie Alvarado, of Del Rio
  • James Patric Bartlett, of San Antonio; and,
  • Albelardo Oviedo, of San Antonio.

The indictment alleges that defendants Arteaga, Rodriguez, Brown, Chavarria, Oscar Oviedo, Joseph Guerrero, Vasquez, Martinez, Justin Guerrero, Gonzalez, Robles, Moreno, Palafos, Barron, Lopez, Jose Garcia, Alvarado, Bartlett, and Albelardo Oviedo conspired from June 2019 until April 7, 2021, to distribute methamphetamine. It also alleges that from June 2019 until April 7, 2021, Oscar Oviedo, Vasquez, Justin Guerrero, Moreno and Palafos conspired to distribute cocaine, and that Chavarria, Homero Garcia, Oswaldo Lopez and Oscar Lopez conspired to distribute heroin. All of the defendants except Albelardo Oviedo are also charged in substantive counts in the indictment related to specific instances of drug trafficking that occurred throughout the course of the conspiracy.

During this investigation, authorities seized approximately 24 kilograms of methamphetamine, six kilograms of heroin, three kilograms of cocaine, four firearms and approximately $100,000 along with other assets attributable to this organization.

Over the past two days, federal, state and local authorities arrested all of the defendants with the exception of Brown, Martinez, Jose Garcia, Alvarado, and Bartlett. Those five defendants were already in custody.

"These arrests send a strong and unified message that these crimes will not be tolerated in our communities and those who commit these offenses will be brought to justice," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Comeaux. "We will continue to work closely with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners in order to enhance the quality of life for the citizens in the San Antonio region."

Martinez, Robles, and Jose Garcia face between 15 years and life upon conviction of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Each has a prior serious felony drug conviction which enhances their minimum mandatory sentence. All the remaining defendants face between 10 years to life in federal prison upon conviction.

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.

IRS Criminal Investigation, the DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Texas Department of Public Safety, Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Terrell Hills Police Department, Seguin Police Department and San Antonio Police Department conducted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation called Operation Alamo Fade. The Bexar County District Attorney's Office also assisted in the investigation. OCDETF Lead Task Force Attorney Adrián Rosales is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

This operation is part of an OCDETF Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. The specific mission of the Houston/South Texas OCDETF Strike Force is to disrupt and dismantle the drug trafficking organizations headed by designated Consolidated Priority Organization Targets (CPOTs), Regional Priority Organization Targets (RPOTs), and their affiliates that impact Houston and south Texas.