BEAUMONT, TX - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas E. Hinojosa and U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that two Houston men have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a major drug trafficking conspiracy. The sentencing hearings were held by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark in the Eastern District of Texas.
Amando Garcia-Duarte, 35, of Houston, pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2011, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison on June 22, 2011.
Kenneth Patrick Collins, 44, of Houston, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison on June 22, 2011.
According to information presented in court, in August 2008, an investigation began into a Houston-based drug trafficking organization that was distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine throughout Houston and the Beaumont, Texas area. In June 2009, agents began utilizing court-ordered telephone intercepts in an effort to determine those involved in the conspiracy, the amount of drugs being distributed and the source of the drugs. Law enforcement officers and agents also participated in undercover purchases of methamphetamine and revealed at least 40 persons were involved in the conspiracy and that no less that 113 pounds of methamphetamine and 31 kilograms of cocaine were distributed. At least 20 kilograms of cocaine was seized through undercover buys and during the execution of search warrants and arrests. A federal grand jury returned an indictment on June 3, 2010, charging 35 defendants with various drug trafficking charges. An additional five defendants were named in a superseding indictment on November 3, 2010. All defendants have since been convicted.
This case is being investigated by the DEA, ICE, ATF, Texas Department of Public Safety, Orange County Sheriff's Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Chambers County Sheriff's Office, the Beaumont Police Department, U.S. Marshals 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.