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34 in Custody in Connection with Austin-Based Drug Distribution Operation

OCT 16 (AUSTIN, Texas) - Federal and state authorities have arrested 24 individuals, including Austin lawyers Richard Patrick Fagerberg, age 45, and David Ramos, age 39, for their roles in a cocaine and methamphetamine distribution operation announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and United States Attorney Robert Pitman.

Two related federal grand jury indictments, unsealed this afternoon, charges those arrested, as well as ten others who were already in custody prior to today, with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. A list of the defendants is below. According to the indictments, the defendants have allegedly participated in a conspiracy to distribute various amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine since May 2013. During this 16-month-long operation, authorities have seized approximately 87 kilograms of cocaine and two kilograms of methamphetamine, four firearms, and close to $1.5 million in criminally derived assets in connection with this investigation.

“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our communities. DEA, and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in Austin and throughout Texas, will remain relentless in our pursuit of the vicious criminal individuals and drug trafficking organizations who threaten our safety and stability. These arrests send a strong and unified message that these crimes will not be tolerated in our communities and those who commit these offenses will be brought to justice,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit.

Upon conviction, the defendants face statutory penalties of between 10 years and life imprisonment or between five and 40 years imprisonment.

“Organized crime and drug trafficking are a serious threat to public safety in Texas, and DPS vigilantly works alongside our law enforcement partners to detect, deter and dismantle drug trafficking organizations operating in our communities,” said DPS Regional Commander Freeman Martin. “This long-term investigation is an ideal example of how law enforcement at all levels works together to put suspected criminals behind bars and protect Texans.”

These charges and arrests resulted from an investigation conducted by the Austin High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. The Austin HIDTA Task Force is made up of investigators from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar Park Police Department and the Georgetown Police Department. Other agencies participating in today’s arrests include Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), United States Marshals Service, Round Rock Police Department, Travis County District Attorney’s Office and the Williamson County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Mark Marshall and Dan Guess are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

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.

ARRESTED YESTERDAY (24)

Case # Name Age Residence Stat. Penalty
A14cr292 David Depaz, 22; Austin, TX; 10 years to life
A14cr292 Hector Mayorga, 23; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr292 Alvaro Salinas, 46; Austin; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 Arthur Villalobos, 34; Taylor, TX; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 Joel Avilez-Jaimes, 38; Austin; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 Veronica Deleon, 31; Taylor; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 Rene Perez, 35; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr292 Alejandro Rodriguez, 41; Austin; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 Francisco Lopez, 38; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr292 Fernando Tejeda, 30; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr292 Javier Tejeda, 24; Austin; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 Rogelio Villanueva, 35; Austin; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 James Yerkes 46, Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr292 Timothy Cooper 49, Debray, FL; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr300 Ray Villegas 42, Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Valeria Cuenca 23, Kyle, TX; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Antonio Nieto 23, Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Gervacio Morales 31, Kyle; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Benjamin Tyler Goldberg 26, Austin 10 years to life
A14cr300 Victor Hugo Excalano-Zuvieta 25, Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Richard Patrick Fagerberg 45, Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 David Ramos 39, Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Eugenio Lucio 60, San Benito, TX; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Juan Maximo Ruiz 33, Brownsville, TX; 10 years to life

ALREADY IN CUSTODY PRIOR TO YESTERDAY (10)

Case # Name Age Residence Stat. Penalty
A14cr292 Jose Nieto-Figueroa, 23; Pflugerville, TX; 5 years to 40 years
A14cr292 Ricardo Cruz, 53; Pharr, TX ;10 years to life
A14cr292 Gerardo Diaz, 23; Austin, TX ;10 years to life
A14cr292 Juan Gonzalez, 28; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Oscar Armando Avila-Jaimes, 35; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Armando Gutierrez, 40; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Antonio De Jesus Hernandez-Gonzalez, 29; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Jesus Angelos Dominguez, 29; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Oscar Suarez-Lara, 29; Austin; 10 years to life
A14cr300 Jose Luis Reyes-Valle, 38; Austin; 10 years to life

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