Alleged “Well Known” Street Gang Members Arrested on Federal Weapons and Narcotics Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 08, 2009|
WICHITA FALLS, TX—Twelve alleged members of the Puro Lil Mafia (PLM) street gang operating in Wichita Falls, were indicted yesterday by a grand jury in Dallas on federal weapons and/or narcotics charges, announced acting U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. This morning, in an early morning round-up, FBI agents, Officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department, and Wichita County Sheriff Deputies arrested eight of the 12 defendants. Four of 12 defendants are already in state or local custody on related charges. The defendants arrested today are making their initial appearances this week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert K. Roach, in Wichita Falls. Detention hearings will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 2009, before Judge Roach.
Acting U.S. Attorney Jacks said, “Today’s enforcement action has effectively shut down a dangerous cocaine trafficking organization operating in Wichita Falls. An operation such as this demonstrates the commitment of federal, state and local law enforcement to work together to restore safety to communities by aggressively addressing gangs and their illegal activities.”
“Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are working together every day to put criminal gangs out of business and return our communities to the law-abiding residents," said FBI Special Agent In Charge Robert E. Casey Jr. of the Dallas FBI. “Today’s arrests are a testament to our commitment to use effective, multi-law enforcement agency strategies to deal with gangs. This investigation will have a lasting and positive impact upon local residents.”
Those defendants, all residents of Wichita Falls, arrested this morning include:
- Andrew Cecil Harris, 36
- Miguel Antonio Martinez, 24
- Joe McDonald, 65
- Jose Skinner, 26
- Hugo Lopez, 22
- Betty Bustillos, 25
- Anthony Merito, 23
- James Frederick Trujillo, 26
Those defendants charged, also all residents of Wichita Falls, that are in state or local custody include:
- Jessie James Greek, 27
- Edward Buck Izaguirre, 30
- Wesley Swick, 20
- Jason Grantham, 20
In a related case, Steed Dennis, 30, of Wichita Falls, pled guilty in February to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and is scheduled to be sentenced in June. On January 9, 2009, Dennis was stopped in his vehicle by a Wichita Falls Police Officer. The officer, who knew Dennis to be a known member of Puro Lil Mafia of Wichita Falls, and a convicted felon, was in possession of a .22 caliber firearm in his vehicle. According to documents filed in Court, the Officer also observed Frederick Trujillo, also a known member of Puro Lil Mafia, in the back seat of the vehicle.
Dennis Bachman, Chief of the Wichita Falls Police Department, said, “These arrested persons have posed a danger to the city for some time. We're happy to support the Safe Streets Task Force with the cooperation of all agencies involved. We expect these partnerships to continue and believe the result will be safer communities in Wichita Falls.”
In one indictment, Edward Buck Izaguirre, Miguel Antonio Martinez and Joe McDonald are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. In addition, Izaguirre is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm.
Other separate indictments returned this week charge Jessie James Greek with two counts of felon in possession of a firearm. Andrew Cecil Harris, Jose Skinner, Anthony Merito, James Frederick Trujillo, and Jason Grantham are each charged with one count of felon in possession of a firearm. In addition, Harris, is charged with one count of felon in possession of ammunition.
In other separate indictments, Hugo Lopez is charged with one count of possession of a firearm by an illegal alien. Betty Bustillos is charged with two counts of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. Wesley Swick is charged with one count of possession of a stolen firearm or ammunition.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, upon conviction, the felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, possession of stolen firearm or ammunition, possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm counts each carry a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, upon conviction. The conspiracy count carries a statutory sentence of not less than five nor more than 40 years in prison, upon conviction. The possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence charge carries a mandatory five year penalty, to run consecutive to any other imposed sentence.
Mr. Jacks praised the excellent investigative efforts of the FBI, ATF, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), the U.S. Marshals Service, the Wichita Falls Police Department, the Wichita Falls County Sheriff’s Office, the Wichita Falls City Attorney’s Office and the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Taly Haffar and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Hector M. Valle are prosecuting the cases.