DALLAS — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging two Dallas men with various drug and firearms offenses related to their conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. One of these men is also charged with possessing and distributing heroin that resulted in the drug-overdose deaths this summer of two young women.
Misael Perla, 24, and Hugo Sanchez, 23, are presently in state custody on related charges and are expected to appear later this week before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on these federal charges. These indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, the nine-count indictment alleges that from July to Sept. 13, 2012, Perla, aka "Irving," and Sanchez, aka "Juice," conspired to possess with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and 500 grams or more of cocaine.
In addition, the indictment alleges that on July 16, 2012, Perla possessed, with the intent to distribute heroin, which caused the drug-overdose death of Alexandra Julia Moreno, 20, of Irving, Texas. It also alleges that on Aug. 27, 2012, Perla possessed, with the intent to distribute, heroin and methamphetamine, which caused the drug-overdose death of Cassidy Seward, 18, Grapevine, Texas.
"Heroin use is on the rise in North Texas and traffickers should take heed," said U.S. Attorney Saldaña. "My heart goes out to the families of Ms. Moreno and Ms. Seward; I hope in some small way they are comforted by the fact that we are holding an individual accountable for the loss of their daughters."
Sanchez is also charged with the following crimes: one count of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute it to a person under age 21; one substantive count of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute; one substantive count of possession of heroin with the intent to distribute; and one substantive count of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
In addition, the indictment charges Sanchez with one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, alleging that Sanchez, a convicted felon, possessed four firearms Sept. 13, 2012. The indictment also alleges that on Sept. 13, 2012, Sanchez possessed these firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury; a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. Following are the associated penalties upon conviction of these charges:
- The conspiracy count carries a penalty of not less than five years or more than 40 years in prison.
- Counts Two and Three, possession with intent to distribute resulting in death, each carry a penalty of not less than 20 years, and up to life in prison.
- Count Four, charging possession of heroin with intent to distribute and distribution to a person under age 21, carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
- Each of the substantive possession with intent to distribute counts, Counts Five, Six and Seven, carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
- Count Eight, charging possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
- Count Nine, Use of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense, carries a mandatory five-year consecutive term of imprisonment to the sentence for the underlying drug offense.
- Possible fines range from $250,000 to $10 million per count of conviction.
This investigation is being led by the Texas police departments of Irving and Grapevine, with assistance from U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason D. Schall, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.