ABILENE, Texas — Four defendants were sentenced this week following their convictions for their roles in a marijuana distribution conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney John Parker, Northern District of Texas.
This case was investigated by Abilene Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Three of those defendants, who were convicted after a five-day jury trial in February 2015, were sentenced Tuesday, and one, who pleaded guilty to his role, was sentenced Wednesday.
Chief U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis sentenced Abilene, Texas, residents Jose Cavazos, 51, to 108 months in federal prison; Travis Kyndall Longoria, 22, to 120 months in federal prison; and David Rodriguez, 25, to 30 months in federal prison. Judge Solis sentenced Brandon Johnson, 35, of Sweetwater, Texas, to 90 months in federal prison June 10.
Daniel Longoria, 49, of Abilene, who was also convicted at trial, will be sentenced later, as will Fabricio Abelardo Perez, 43, of Abilene, who pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy.
Daniel Longoria, Cavazos, and Travis Longoria were each convicted at trial on an indictment charging one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. Rodriguez was found guilty at trial of the lesser charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana. In January 2015, Perez and Johnson each pleaded guilty to the indictment.
According to evidence presented at trial and filed court documents, the investigation into the Daniel Longoria Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) began when the Abilene Police Department learned that, since 2004, Daniel Longoria had been distributing marijuana from his business, Abilene Automotive and Performance. Daniel Longoria concealed marijuana in speaker boxes, and placed the speakers in vehicles so that the marijuana could be distributed throughout Abilene. Daniel Longoria also used vehicles that had been left at his business to conceal and transport large sums of bulk cash back to the DTO’s supply source in Mexico. All six defendants conspired together and worked together to transport and distribute large quantities of marijuana in Abilene.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Juanita Fielden and Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Williams prosecuted.