U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Texas
(210) 384-7100
August 28, 2015

Eighteen Sentenced to Federal Prison for Roles in Austin-Based Drug Distribution Operation

In Austin, 18 individuals have been sentenced over the past two days to federal prison terms for their roles in a cocaine and methamphetamine distribution operation announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division.

United States District Judge Sam Sparks sentenced:

  • Rene Perez, 35, of Austin, to 324 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Mario Gonzalez, 35, of Austin, to 235 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • David Depaz, 22, of Austin, to 168 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Gerardo Diaz, 24, of Austin, to 57 months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release;
  • Ricardo Cruz, 27, of Pharr, TX, to 97 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Juan Gonzalez, 28, of Austin, to 120 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Joel Avilez-Jaimes, 39, of Austin, to 18 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Arthur Villalobos, 35, of Taylor, TX, to 70 months’ imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release;
  • Alvaro Salinas, 46, of Austin, to 41 months’ imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release;
  • Francisco Lopez, 38, of Austin, to 135 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Javier Tejeda, 25, of Austin, to 84 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Fernando Tejeda, 32, of Austin, to 135 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Efren Dias, 29, of Austin, to 262 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Jose Nieto-Figueroa, 24, of Pflugerville, TX, to 30 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Alejandro Rodriguez, 41, of Austin, to 51 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release;
  • Timothy Cooper, 50, of Debray, FL, to 41 months’ imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release;
  • Rogelio Villanueva, 35, of Austin, to 60 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release; and,
  • James Yerkes, 47, of Austin, to 87 months’ imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release.

In addition, Judge Sparks sentenced a 19th defendant in this case, 32-year-old Veronica Deleon of Taylor, TX, to three years’ probation after she pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of felony.

Sentencing for a 20th defendant, 24-year-old Hector Mayorga of Austin, was reset to September 3, 2015.

All of the defendants, with the exception of Deleon, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. According to court records, these defendants were involved in a conspiracy, led by Rene Perez, to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine throughout the Austin area and elsewhere in the United States. During this investigation, authorities seized approximately 28 kilograms of cocaine and 45 kilograms of methamphetamine, three firearms and close to $100,000 in U.S. Currency.

This case 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. Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Guess and Matt Harding prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

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