Tyler marijuana kingpin pleads guilty

Tyler marijuana kingpin pleads guilty

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A leader of an East Texas drug trafficking ring has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Records show Eduardo Pineda, 24, of Tyler, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute and possess with intent to manufacture and distribute 50 or more marijuana plants, maintaining a drug-involved premises and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on Nov. 22 in Judge John Love's courtroom in Tyler.

According to a previous report, Pineda oversaw daily operations of at least 15 marijuana cultivation sites in East Texas found in Smith, Sabine, Houston, Harrison, Upshur, Morris, Anderson, Van Zandt and Henderson counties.

Pineda was a subject of a multi-county investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, dubbed Operation Joint Venture. Operation Joint Venture was launched July 28, 2015, in northeastern Smith County. Three cultivation sites were discovered there and about 22,000 marijuana plants were seized.

Pineda was arrested on the charges in March.

From July 2015 to November 2016, officials say about 77,000 individual marijuana plants were seized. According to a DEA formula used by law enforcement, the plants are worth about $101,640,000.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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