La Familia cartel members busted in eastern district of Texas

Released by Davilyn Walston with the U.S. Attorney's Office:

PLANO, TX - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that 14 individuals have been arrested in two separate cases related to the criminal activities of the Mexico-based "La Familia" cartel. The enforcement operations were conducted in concert with similar strikes against "La Familia's" operations in the neighboring Northern District of Texas.

The conspirators named in the two indictments are believed to be members of cells which have operated in north and east Texas, and are part of the Mexican drug-trafficking organization (DTO) known as "La Familia". Both groups are responsible for receiving millions of dollars worth of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana from other "La Familia" members, and then distributing the drugs throughout the region, including Dallas, numerous Dallas suburbs, Tyler and in Texarkana. Following the distributions, the same individuals then collected, packaged, and transported large sums of U.S. currency back to Mexico.

More specifically, a federal indictment was returned by the federal grand jury on Oct. 15, 2009, charging multiple defendants with conspiracy to manufacture, distribute or possess with the intent to manufacture or distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana. Arrest and search warrants were executed on Oct. 21, 2009, resulting in the capture of numerous defendants, all who are believed to be originally from the area of Michoacán, Mexico. In addition to the ten individuals arrested yesterday, law enforcement officers seized 10 pounds of methamphetamine, one half kilo of cocaine, and a quantity of crack cocaine.

The following individuals are in custody and were brought before U.S. Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush on Oct. 21, 2009, for Initial Appearances:

Teresa Ann Flores 01/31/1982
Lauren Garza 08/02/1983
Alonzo Cabasos 03/18/1958
Guillermo Hernandez 01/30/1967
Jorge Andres Leo 11/24/1989
Iran Lucatero Torres 11/30/1981
Adela Romero Tapia 09/08/1967
Esmeralda Valdez 02/24/1984
Behzad Virani 11/05/1981
Jaime Posados Cornejo 01/15/82

If convicted, the defendants each face up to Life in federal prison.

This particular case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Plano office. Assisting in the prosecution are attorneys from the Department of Justice's Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section.

In a separate "La Familia" DTO case, the federal grand jury returned a 3-count indictment on September 10, 2009, charging multiple defendants with conspiracy to possess with the intent to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine. In addition, Defendants Becerra and Lopez were each charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. These individuals are alleged to have conducted drug distribution operations in the Rowlett area and in the state of Mississippi. The following defendants are presently in custody and are awaiting trial:

Defendants in Custody: DOB
Mauricio Becerra, of Coppell 06/12/1979
Adrian Hinojosa, of Dallas 07/18/1988
Johnny Lopez, Jr., of Dallas 07/31/1986
Fernando Diaz, of Dallas 10/22/1988

If convicted, the defendants could also face up to Life in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Rowlett Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ernest Gonzalez.
These operations were part of "Project Coronado", a national initiative that featured simultaneous arrest and search warrants executed in 19 districts across the United States. Those districts involved included the Central District of California, Southern District of California, District of Colorado, Northern District of Georgia, District of Massachusetts, District of Minnesota, Southern District of Mississippi, Eastern District of Missouri, Northern District of Oklahoma, Southern District of New York, Northern District of New York, Middle District of North Carolina, District of South Carolina, Middle District of Tennessee, Eastern District of Texas, Northern District of Texas, Southern District of Texas and the Western District of Washington. There were also arrests by state authorities in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.