Eight Charged In Federal Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
GALVESTON, Texas - A total of eight people are set to appear in federal court today in relation to a drug trafficking conspiracy involving cocaine and methamphetamine, announced Drug Enforcement (DEA) Houston Division, Special Agent in Charge, Joseph M. Arabit and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson
Those charged include Agusto Lazo-Aguirre, 39, Marco Antonio Duran-Millan, 29, Rafael Ortuno Carreno, 36, and Gabriel Santiago-Ochoa, 30, all of Houston; Tony Perez, 23, of Dickinson; and Carlos Chayane Morales, 26, Francisco Solano-Huerta, 58, and Juana Guadalupe Joya, 47, all of Galveston.
They are all set for a detention hearing today at 1:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner in Galveston.
Authorities arrested Perez, Solano, Joya and Duran during an enforcement action late last week. The other four had already been in custody.
The eight-count indictment charges all of defendants with conspiring from July 1, 2015, to Feb. 22, 2016, to possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine or more than 500 grams of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine and more than five kilograms of cocaine.
Carreno, Lazo-Aguirre and Duran-Millan are also charged as illegal aliens who unlawfully possessed one or more firearms.
In addition, Morales is charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, while Lazo-Aguirre, Perez and Ochoa are each charged with one of these substantive counts.
If convicted of the drug conspiracy offense, the eight defendants face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and a possible $10 million fine. Those charged in the substantive possession count face the same penalties, while the illegal aliens in possession of firearms charges carry a possible 10-year-term of imprisonment.
The Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; Galveston Police Department; and the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Cusick is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.