News Release
Contact: Terri K. Wyatt
Special Agent/PIO
Number: (214) 366-6900

Meth Trafficker and La Familia Associate Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking
Defendant Charged in "Project Coronado" Faces Life in Prison

APR 20 --DALLAS — Edgar Gomez-Huerta, 31, of Dallas, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickey to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine (ice), announced DEA Special Agent in Charge James Capra and U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Sentencing is set for September 8, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade.

Gomez-Huerta was arrested in October 2009 as part of the DEA-led “Project Coronado.” In that operation, approximately 84 members of methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking cells associated with Mexico’s La Familia cartel, based in the state of Michoacan, in southwestern Mexico, were arrested locally on charges outlined in 10 federal indictments and several complaints.

La Familia is one of the Mexican government’s highest priorities in its battle against drug trafficking organizations. In a highly publicized incident last summer, members of La Familia launched a series of attacks against Mexican federal police officers and military members following the arrests of some of the cartel’s high-level members, including Arnoldo Rueda-Medina, a.k.a. La Minsa and Miguel Angel Berraza-Villa, a.k.a. La Troca, resulting in the brutal murder of 16 federal police officers. Rueda-Medina and Berraza-Villa oversaw the shipments of cocaine and methamphetamine into the U.S. and coordinated the collection of drug proceeds in the U.S. for shipment to Mexico.

As part of Project Coronado, law enforcement officers executed numerous search warrants at various locations throughout North Texas during the week of October 21, 2009, that resulted in the seizure of more than 1000 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.5 kilograms of cocaine, $660,000 in cash, 50 firearms, 53 vehicles, one boat, two all terrain vehicles, one camper and two real properties. These seizures are in addition to more than 650 pounds of methamphetamine, 135 kilograms of cocaine, more than 100 firearms, more than $2.4 million in U.S. currency and more than $1 million in other assets already seized from members and customers of these organizations throughout the investigation by law enforcement in the DFW area.

Since 2006, DEA has been investigating several methamphetamine trafficking organizations that routinely receive significant quantities of methamphetamine, as well as cocaine and marijuana, from supply sources in Michoacán. The organizations are all part of a network of methamphetamine distributors that receive large amounts of methamphetamine from, and in some instances work on behalf of, the La Familia cartel in Michoacán. Law enforcement learned that the drug shipments entered the U.S. primarily through southern Texas, with the DFW area serving as a critical distribution point for La Familia and a transshipment point for drug shipments to Georgia, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Mississippi and Chicago.

Evidence was presented during Gomez-Huerta’s detention hearing that the investigation revealed that he acted as a Dallas-based cell head leader and that he received monthly shipments of methamphetamine directly from upper level members of the “La Familia Michoacán” drug trafficking cartel. He then distributed the methamphetamine out to numerous customers throughout north Texas.

According to plea documents filed in the case, beginning in March 2008, a methamphetamine and cocaine supply source in Mexico began importing multi-kilogram shipments of both methamphetamine and cocaine into the U.S. through border checkpoints near Laredo, Texas. Couriers hired by the drug suppliers in Mexico delivered the drugs to Gomez-Huerta and once the drugs arrived, Gomez-Huerta maintained care, custody and control of them at various “stash” houses in the area until they could be distributed to various customers. Gomez-Huerta routinely used his cell phone to negotiate the distribution and sale of both cocaine and methamphetamine with customers. He also admitted collecting thousands of dollars in cash in drug proceeds from his customers and relying on other co-conspirators to transport the cash to his supply source in Mexico. Gomez-Huerta stipulated that he distributed more than 50 kilograms of methamphetamine and 20 kilograms of cocaine during the time of the conspiracy.

Federal, state and local agencies assisting DEA in Project Coronado in North Texas include: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; FBI; Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation; U.S. Secret Service; North Texas HIDTA, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Air National Guard; Police Departments from Abilene, Addison, Allen, Arlington, Bedford, Coppell, Dallas, Duncanville, Fort Worth, Garland, Grand Prairie, Irving, Keller, Lewisville, Mesquite, North Richland Hills, Richardson, Rockwall, Waxahachie and Weatherford, Texas; Dallas-Fort Worth Airport Department of Public Safety; Dallas County Constables; Rockwall County Special Crimes Unit; Sheriff’s Departments in Dallas, Ellis, Denton, Hill and Parker County, Texas; the Sheriff’s Department in Carter County, Oklahoma; and the Dallas and Tarrant County District Attorney’s Offices.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert.