DEA-Led Investigation Results in 24 Arrests in Major Cocaine Trafficking Operation in Ft. Stockton, Texas
June 7 (Fort Stockton, TX) - DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit and United States Attorney Robert Pitman announced that earlier today, federal, state and local law enforcement arrested 24 Fort Stockton, TX, residents, including ringleader Noe Torres Ortega (aka “Prieto”), in connection with a cocaine distribution operation. A complete list of those arrested is attached.
All of the defendants are charged in a 27-count federal grand jury indictment returned on May 17, 2012, and unsealed today by U.S. Magistrate Judge Dwight Goains. The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Other charges in the indictment include distribution of a controlled substance in a school/playground zone, namely Rocket Park and Fort Stockton Intermediate School; possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; use of a communication facility (phone) in a felony drug offense; and, maintaining a drug-involved premises.
“DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are working together to have a positive impact at the local level. Together, we are taking these drug dealers off the streets and depriving them of the opportunity to further engage in criminal activity which has adversely affected the quality of life in this region. We are sending a strong and unified message that drug dealing, at all levels, will not be tolerated, and, in turn, we are making our communities safer,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit.
Upon conviction of the drug conspiracy count, the defendants face between ten years and life in federal prison. All of the defendants remain in federal custody at this time.
This investigation was conducted by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration Alpine Resident Office Multi-Agency Task Force (MTF) comprised of agents from DEA, United States Border Patrol, Pecos County Sheriff's Office, Brewster County Sheriff's Office, Alpine Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety - Criminal Investigation Division as well as members of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Presidio and Alpine and the Fort Stockton Police Department. The United States Marshals Service, along with Special Response Teams from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the City of Pecos, also assisted with today’s arrests. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Monty Kimball.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.