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Contraband
06/29/2010

28 arrested in multi-agency drug trafficking takedown

ICE's Enforcement Removal Office, DEA and Texas DPS work to dismantle drug conspiracy

BEAUMONT, Texas - Twenty-five individuals allegedly involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy with ties to Mexican drug cartels were arrested this week. The arrests resulted from a joint investigation led by the DEA, Texas DPS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Office.

On June 29, a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies began arresting individuals named in a 35-defendant indictment returned by the federal grand jury on June 3. The defendants are charged with being involved in a methamphetamine and cocaine distribution ring in the Eastern District of Texas. Thirteen state arrest warrants were also issued for methamphetamine trafficking offenses.

According to the indictment, beginning in August 2008, 35 individuals are alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine in east Texas.  According to prosecutors, an undercover investigation involving known narcotics traffickers revealed this drug trafficking organization and linked it to other undercover investigations from around the state and country.  It became apparent that the defendants in this case were allegedly directly linked to large drug cartels operating out of Mexico, and that the drugs traveling into Texas were being routed to other areas of the United States. Search and arrest warrants were executed June 29 at locations in Harris County, Galveston County, Hearne/Bryan, Conroe, Chambers County, Orange County, and Jefferson County.

"ICE works closely with our local and other federal law enforcement partners", said Kenneth L. Landgrebe field office director for ICE's Enforcement and Removal Office in Houston. "Together we work aggressively to secure our communities, and keep drugs out of our communities and to dismantle the criminal networks that profit from narcotics trafficking".

The defendants are each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. If convicted, each defendant faces up to life in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the following agencies: ICE; DEA; ATF; Texas Department of Public Safety; Orange County Sheriff's Office; Jefferson County Sheriff's Office; Chambers County Sheriff's Office; Beaumont Police Department; U.S. Marshal's Service; Brazoria County Sheriff's Office; Galveston County Sheriff's Office; Galveston Police Department; Houston Police Department; and the Texas Rangers. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Englade, Eastern District of Texas.

An indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The following individuals were indicted in the Eastern District of Texas:

  • Rogelio Dominguez Pineda, 39, of Houston;
  • Jonathan A. Cuadros-Zabala, 25, of Houston;
  • Samuel Pineda, 28, of Houston;
  • Rodolfo Dominguez Pineda, 33, of Houston;
  • Raul Pineda, 43, of Houston;
  • Enrique Pineda, 35, of Houston;
  • Aurelio Pineda-Moreno, 29, of Houston;
  • Jesus Pineda-Espinoza, 30, of Houston;
  • Juan Carlos Soto, 26, of Houston;
  • Neil Indravadan Desai, 36, of Houston;
  • Mohammad Zahid, 54, Houston;
  • Amando Garcia-Duarte, 34, of Houston;
  • Jorge Duarte-Garcia, 28, of Houston;
  • John Anthony Molenda, 28, of Houston;
  • Lester Edwen McCoy, 44, of Houston;
  • Aldo Alber Maldonado-Herrera, 27, of Houston;
  • Kenneth Patrick Collins, 43, of Houston;
  • Jaime Buenaventura Pineda, 33, of Houston;
  • German Rios Gomez, 26, of Houston;
  •  David Ruiz, 31, of Hearne, Texas;
  • Orlando Pineda-Espinoza, 25, of Houston;
  • Joshua Haynes, 28, of Nederland, Texas;
  • Vanessa A. Cutbill, 32, of Houston;
  • Alejandro G. Garcia, 46, of Houston;
  • Julian Duarte-Molina, 25, of Houston;
  • Christopher Shannon Miguez, 31, of Katy, Texas;
  • Heather Marie Smith Peveto, 34, of Vidor, Texas;
  • Trish Lynne Taylor, 28, of Houston;
  • Brandon Wayne Russell, 28, of Tomball, Texas;
  • Sarrah Elizabeth Youseff, 27, of Montgomery, Texas;
  • Patrick Fernand Brupbacher, 33, of Houston;
  • Ashley Michelle Henry, 24, of Sugar Land, Texas;
  • Jose Carmen Duarte-Bautista, 49, of Houston;
  • Joshua Lynn Bland, 22, of Orange, Texas; and
  • Vincent Troy Bertrand, 46, of Winnie, Texas.