Twelve Indicted for Alleged Drug Trafficking in Odessa Area
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 28, 2011|
United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Joseph D. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - El Paso Division, announced that 12 individuals have been indicted, 10 of whom are now in custody, on cocaine trafficking charges.
Those individuals arrested by federal, state, and local authorities yesterday include:
- Herman Chavez, age 23, of Odessa, Texas;
- Manuel Muro, age 28, of Odessa;
- Saul Melendez, age 20, of Odessa;
- Gilbert Alvarez, age 25, of Odessa;
- Guadalupe Venegas, age 40, of Odessa;
- Alfonso Gomez, age 34, of Odessa; and
- Manuel Pando, age 31, of Odessa.
Three other defendants in this case, who were already in custody prior to yesterday’s arrests, include: 51-year-old Osvelia Rodriguez, of Pecos, Texas; 30-year-old Daisy Castor, of Odessa; and 38-year-old Jesus Astorga Samaniego, of Odessa.
Two co-defendants—33-year-old Ruby Castor Montoya, of El Paso, Texas; and 53-year-old Arlina Galbaldon Castor, of Odessa—remain fugitives.
Two federal grand jury indictments, returned on Wednesday, charge the defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. To date, law enforcement operations conducted in the Odessa area during this investigation have resulted in the seizure of approximately 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, $214,000 in cash, and a dozen vehicles.
“This year-long investigation, which resulted in the dismantlement of an organization responsible for distributing large amounts of cocaine in Odessa, exemplifies the outstanding cooperation we have among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in West Texas. We will continue to work together to target these organizations by seizing their drugs and illicit proceeds, shutting down their operations, and bringing their members to justice,” said Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-El Paso Division.
The case was investigated by the DEA, Ector County Sheriff’s Office, Midland Police Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Austin M. Berry is prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States. An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.