FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ANGELA DODGE
THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 2012 PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
HOUSTON - Alleged members or associates of the notorious Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) prison gang have been indicted for trafficking in heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, firearms violations and for distributing explosive materials, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw.
Those arrested today are alleged members or associates of the TMM gang who allegedly make money by trafficking heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine and by selling firearms.
Among those charged included Michael Mares, 50, an Onalaska police officer who knowingly provided firearms to a convicted felon on two occasions, according to the indictment.
Also taken into custody in the Houston area were Robert Arechiga, 34, Alexander Garcia, 39, Adam Guzman, 43, George Maldonado, 45, Jorge Montemayor, 36, Juan Sarmientos, 45, Tony Valdez, 37, and Michael Villarreal, 32. They are expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy tomorrow. Ruben Esparza, 34, was arrested today in the Corpus Christi area where he will make his initial appearance before being transferred to Houston, while Jose Cerda, 26, and Michael A. Villarreal, 22, were taken into custody in the San Antonio area. Francisco Galvan, 46, was taken into custody just moments ago at the Texas-Mexico border.
Three others - Carlos Romero, 30, Gilbert Gonzalez, 41, and Enrique Bravo, 38 - are considered fugitives and a warrant remains outstanding for their arrests. Photos are attached. Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 713-693-5000. Anonymous tips can also be provided through the website www.stophoustongangs.org.
Also charged in this case are Juan Deluna, 40, Johnny Reyes, 51, Ricardo Sanchez, 33, Valentin Ayala-Guiterrez, 51, Ernesto Villarreal, 35, Eric Gomez, 36, Armando Villarreal III, 23, Rene Gonzalez, 44, and Alvin Valadaz, 42. These nine defendants are currently in custody and are expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge on these charges in the near future.
According to the 22-count indictment, the TMM formed in the early 1980s in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
The indictment alleges the defendants conspired with one another and others from 2008 through October 2012 to procure illegal drugs and distribute the drugs to numerous associates involved in drug trafficking in order to carry out the business of the gang. Alleged gang members also illegally sold numerous assault rifles, other guns and even detonation cord during the course of the investigation, according to the indictment.
The four-year investigation resulted in the return of a sealed indictment Oct. 4, 2012, which was unsealed following the execution of arrest warrants early this morning.
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a $10 million fine. All substantive counts carry an equal or lesser possible sentence depending upon the amount of drugs involved.
The charges are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation which included agents and officers with the FBI, DPS, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Police Departments in Baytown, Houston, Pasadena and Katy, Bureau of Prisons, Harris County Sheriff's Office, TDCJ-Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tim S. Braley and Mark Donnelly.
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.