July 26, 2017
Contact: Wendell Campbell
Phone Number: (713) 693-3000
Melendez Family Members Sentenced In South Laredo Drug Conspiracy
LAREDO, Texas - Three brothers and a nephew of the reputed leader of the Melendez drug trafficking organization from South Laredo have been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy, announced DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven Whipple, Houston Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
The brothers - Gerardo Melendez, 34, Rafael Andres Melendez, 45, and Mario Alberto Melendez, 37, all of Laredo - and their nephew - Jesus Rosendo Garcia-Melendez, 24, also of Laredo - had all previously pleaded guilty for their crimes. Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña ordered Rafael Melendez to serve 198 months, while Garcia-Melendez, Gerardo and Mario Melendez were sentenced to 87, 168, and 120 months, respectively. Each will also serve five years of supervised release following completion of their sentences. Rafael Melendez was also ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. The court also issued a final order of forfeiture for $500,000 against Rafael and Gerardo Melendez.
The four men were held accountable for more than 1.2 kilograms of crack cocaine. In addition, the court upwardly departed from the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines for possessing of a firearm and engaging in credible threats of violence, maintaining a drug premises and leadership roles in the organization. During the hearing, the court determined that all four men were engaged in a long-lasting drug distribution conspiracy. Judge Saldaña further noted that their activities were shameful and caused a lot of heartache, not just for their individual families, but also for the entire community. She took note of the number of state arrests and encounters with law enforcement which had gone unpunished for a very long time and necessitated the federal government stepping in to stop the drug-trafficking and violent activities of the Melendez organization.
Gerardo Melendez operated a crack distribution point, while Rafael and Mario Melendez and Garcia-Melendez operated and supplied a separate distribution point for the Melendez drug trafficking organization. Adan Melendez aka “12,” 41, and his two sons ran the organization which distributed cocaine, crack and marijuana in South Laredo from at least 2012 until they were arrested in the summer of 2014. Testimony during Adan Melendez’s trial revealed he profited approximately $1,200 per day from his operations and spent tens of thousands on luxury cars for himself and his sons.
Adan Melendez was sentenced earlier this year to life in prison.
To date, 26 have been sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy. The final four will be sentenced tomorrow.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Laredo Police Department, Webb County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation dubbed “Operation Revocation.” Assistant U.S. Attorneys José Angel Moreno is prosecuting the case.