News Release
March 24, 2008

DEA Charges Ten and Arrests Five with the Distribution of Over 1000 Kilograms of Marijuana

MAR 24 -- (Houston, Texas) ZORAN B. YANKOVICH, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Houston Field Division of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and JOHNNY SUTTON, United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas announced the arrest of three Del Rio area residents and two San Antonio residents. .

The government alleges Henry VILLANUEVA, Fernando GARCIA and Cesar CALDERON, Carlos CARAVANTES, Ronald MARTIN, Rogelio “Roy” MENDEZ, Mario CARAVANTES, William RIVAS, Stewart LEE and Joshua LIRA are part of a marijuana and methamphetamine distribution organization. All ten defendants are charged federally with knowingly and intentionally conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of 1000 kilograms or more of marijuana.

During the early morning hours on March 20, 2008, officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Marshals Service (USMS), Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) SWAT, DPS Troopers, Eagle Pass Police Department, Maverick County Sheriffs, Office Kinney County Sheriff’s Office and Officers of the 293rd judicial district and San Antonio Police Department arrested the following defendants without incident:

Henry VILLANUEVA, age 24, of Del Rio, Texas;
Fernando GARCIA, age 24, of Del Rio, Texas;
Cesar CALDERON, age 24, of Del Rio, Texas;
Joshua LIRA, age 29, of San Antonio, Texas;
Stewart LEE, age 58, of San Antonio, Texas

Carlos CARAVANTES is currently in federal custody and Ronald MARTIN, is in state custody. Rogelio “Roy” MENDEZ, William RIVAS and Mario CARAVANTES are still at large. This charge is a felony and upon conviction each faces a minimum of 10 years in Federal prison. This investigation is continuing and additional arrests are anticipated.

These arrests were the result of a three year investigation conducted jointly by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Del Rio and San Antonio Offices, and the United States Attorney’s Office, of the Western District of Texas. Also providing assistance were San Antonio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Public Safety Narcotics (DPS), the United States Marshals Office and the San Antonio Police Department. .

The prosecuting attorney for this case is Assistant United States Attorney Herbert Lindsey.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Rogelio “Roy” MENDEZ, William RIVAS or Mario CARAVANTES should contact (830) 778-7086.

Criminal complaints and indictments by a grand jury are accusatory in nature and should not be considered a determination of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law.