Galveston Fugitive Sought in Cocaine Conspiracy
HOUSTON—A total of nine people are in custody following the return of a one-count federal indictment alleging a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Authorities are still seeking Patrick Fredrick, 44, of Galveston, who is considered a fugitive. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 713-693-5000.
Those taken into custody during an enforcement action in the Dickinson and surrounding areas last week include Arturo Cruz, 33, Seferino Nunez, 35, Matthew Olguin 25, Reid Wilder, 31, Sidney Hobbs, 44, and Carlos Cantu, 33, all of Dickinson. They all made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner and were temporarily ordered into custody pending detention hearings held this week. With the exception of Olguin, who was permitted release upon posting bond, all were ordered into custody pending further criminal proceedings.
Three others—Guadalupe Martinez Ochoa, 27, of Channelview, Dionisio Gonzales, 53, of Bacliff, and Amado Cruz III, 25, of Dickinson, are also charged but already in custody. Ochoa was being held on related charges while Gonzales and Cruz were in custody on unrelated matters. All have also been transferred and appeared in federal court on the new charges. They will remain in custody.
The indictment alleges that from early 2013 all of the defendants unlawfully conspired to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. At the detention hearings, the government argued that this group is suspected of distributing multiple kilograms of cocaine on a monthly basis. The court heard about their alleged means of operation and how they were identified. In one instance, the government contended that authorities had identified a load of cocaine suspected of being delivered to Galveston. The vehicle, driven by Ochoa, was stopped and searched, at which time authorities discovered five kilograms of cocaine hidden in the vehicle, according to the government’s allegations.
If convicted, each faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million fine.
The charges are the result of a two-year investigation conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and Texas Department of Public Safety with the assistance of the police departments in Dickinson and Galveston and the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Jocher is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.