Possible Drug Cartel Operation Disrupted in Texas Panhandle

Undocumented immigrants sit handcuffed after being apprehended near the Mexican border May 28, 2010 near McAllen, Texas.
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Federal agents and local sheriff’s deputies seized 61 pounds of narcotics, cash and vehicles during a raid of three Lubbock-area homes on September 7. At least one local business owner was taken into custody.

The raids by agents of Homeland Security Investigations and Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office deputies capped a year-long investigation into an alleged drug distribution ring. Esteban Garcia, Jr., 28, was charged along with 19 co-conspirators, according to a report by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

During the raid, 61 pounds of narcotics were seized along with $38,000 in cash, two vehicles, three boats, two motorcycles and one jet ski. At least two of the three raided homes were associated with Garcia. The statement did not disclose which home(s) had the drugs that were seized.

A sealed indictment out of El Paso, in the Western District of Texas, named Garcia along with others, according to the news report.

Garcia, a lifelong resident of the Lubbock area according to his attorney, David Guinn, is being held in the Lubbock County jail on a $100,000 bond. He remains in custody at this time. The sheriff’s office website indicates there is also a U.S. Marshall’s hold on the suspect. He is listed as a U.S. citizen.

The man faces charges of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession and attempt to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and aiding and abetting. If convicted, the Texas man could face between 10 years and life in prison.

Guinn said he expects his client to make bail and reside with his sister, Melissa Garcia. She has agreed to act as a third-party custodian and would ensure his compliance with the terms of a bond agreement. He has agreed to surrender his passport and submit to electronic monitoring.

Garcia owns a local transportation company. One of the terms of his bond would be to seek other employment and to limit his travel to the Northern and Western Districts of Texas which have jurisdiction over his case. He is also prohibited from contacting any of the other 19 co-conspirators. Guinn denied any connection between his client and Mexican cartels. He said he believes the indictment grew out of a wiretap from “years ago.”

An earlier report by the Avalanche-Journal indicates Garcia has a prior criminal history for drug-related offenses in San Antonio. The report states he may have connections to a Texas gang. Breitbart Texas reported on September 9, that others previously arrested in the conspiracy are part of a drug cartel tasked with bringing large quantities of heroin and cocaine into the U.S.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.