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Narcotics
04/02/2014

Members of north Texas methamphetamine drug trafficking organization receive lengthy federal prison sentences and significant cash seizures

LUBBOCK, Texas — The last defendants convicted in an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation targeting the Simon Chavez Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, and significant cash seizures.

That DTO was responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in Lubbock and surrounding areas. The operation resulted in significant seizures of methamphetamine, three vehicles and more than $313,000 in cash.

These sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

"Targeting drug organizations that have infiltrated north Texas and jeopardized the safety and security of our communities continues to be a priority in this district," said U.S. Attorney Saldaña. "I commend the dedicated investigative efforts of the DEA and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), who were assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Lubbock Police Department, the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety."

On March 21, 2014, U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings sentenced Simon Orlando Chavez Jr. to the statutory maximum of 20 years in federal prison. Chavez pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Judge Cummings also sentenced Jimmy Cordova, who pleaded guilty to the same offense, to 188 months in federal prison.

"To maximize our effectiveness, organized criminal actions require a unified law enforcement response," said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas. "Our collaborative work with the OCDETF task force resulted in this successful investigation, and these significant prison sentences. The methamphetamine addiction that this criminal operation was promoting has destroyed countless lives."

"The convictions of Simon Orlando Chavez Jr. and his co-conspirators are indicative of DEA's continued commitment to fully identify, investigate and bring to justice drug trafficking organizations determined to make a living on the backs of addiction," said Daniel R. Salter, special agent in charge of DEA, Dallas Field Division. "A prison sentence of 240 months, which Chavez received, should serve as a warning to other drug trafficking organizations that DEA and our state, local and federal partners are united in our efforts to keeping our communities safe."

Six additional defendants also pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and were sentenced as follows:

  • Jose Luis Lara-Sosa, 87 months
  • Jose Montemayor, 87 months
  • Sammy Chavez, 121 months
  • Antonio Rosa, 51 months
  • Ruben Deleon, 71 months
  • Anthony Deleon, 57 months

The following other defendants also pleaded guilty to various other offenses and were sentenced:

  • Jessica Trevino, 120 months, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine
  • Brian Melcher, 175 months, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine
  • Francisco Avalos-Alejandre, 100 months, possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine
  • Ira Newton-Davis, 48 months, unlawful use of a communication facility
  • Tiffany Lashell Copley, 12 months and a $5,000 fine for operating an illegal gambling business

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Cunningham, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock, prosecuted these cases.