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DEA conduct raids in the Austin area targeting alleged drug ring

Over 6 kilos of cocaine, 147 lbs of meth, and approximately $300,000 were seized during Operation "Spanx," law enforcement officials say. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Justice)

The Drug Enforcement Agency has conducted an area-wide operation targeting an alleged drug ring operating in and around Austin.

DEA agents raided multiple locations on Wednesday morning as part of a statewide operation, including one in the 1900 block of Dry Season Trail, near Dessau Road, in northeast Austin.

The drug ring's operation center was J&J Auto Services, on Motheral Drive in north Austin.

"These drugs are essentially poison, sold for profit around the country, and really ruin people's lives," said U.S. Attorney John Bash.

According to court documents 28 people are charged with a variety of drug and money laundering charges. Authorities arrested 18 suspects in Wednesday's bust, with an additional 10 already in jail at the time.

  1. Luis Villagrana, 32, of Leander: Counts 1-4; max penalty life imprisonment
  2. Furqan Rashid Sunka, 34, of Austin: Counts 2,4; max penalty life imprisonment
  3. Lauro Toledo, 30, of Austin: Count 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  4. **Blanca Davila-Puente, 35, of Mission: Counts 2,4; max penalty life imprisonment
  5. **Silva Cerda-Gonzalez, 49, of Michoacan, Mexico: Counts 2, 3, 4; max penalty life imprisonment
  6. **Daniel Hernandez, 30, of Austin: Counts 2, 4; max penalty life imprisonment
  7. **Anthony Taylor, of Pflugerville: Count 2; max penalty 40 years imprisonment
  8. **Victor Vargas-Osorio, 25, of Austin: Count 2; max penalty 40 years imprisonment
  9. Juan Vaqez, 69, pf Brownsville: Count 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  10. Maria Del Pilar Barcenas, 47, Brownsville: Count 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  11. Lauro Jaimes, 32, of Llano: Count 1; max penalty life imprisonment
  12. **Rigoberto Vences Bautista, 39, of Austin: Count 1; max penalty life imprisonment
  13. Martin Benitez, 38, of Austin: Count 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  14. **Francisco Gonzalez, 30, of Mission: Count 2; max penalty 40 years imprisonment
  15. Esperanza Gerado, 40, of Mission: Count 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  16. Albert Villagrana, 19, of Leander: Counts 2, 4; max penalty life imprisonment
  17. Jesus Ocampo, 33, of Austin: Counts 2, 4; max penalty 40 years imprisonment
  18. Mike Vertacnik, 30, of Austin: Count 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  19. **Marques Taylor Nunley, 27, of Austin: Count 2; max penalty 40 years imprisonment
  20. Rebecca Anaya, 26, of Austin: Counts 2, 3; max penalty 40 years imprisonment
  21. Claudia Lara-Escalante, 26, of Houston: Count 4; max penalty 20 years imprisonment
  22. Leovigildo Martinez, 27, of Austin: Counts 2, 3; max penalty life imprisonment
  23. Carlos Garcis-Duarte, 40, of Dale: Counts 1, 2, 3; max penalty life imprisonment
  24. **Arturo Juarez-Osorio, 36, of Austin: Count 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  25. **Eduardo Flores-Parra, 27, of Austin: Counts 1, 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  26. Rafael Garcia-Duarte, 27, of Dale: Count 1; max penalty life imprisonment
  27. Jose DeJesus Gonzalez, 27, of Austin: Counts 1, 2; max penalty life imprisonment
  28. Gerardo Arroyo, 29, of Pflugerville: Count 2; max penalty 40 years imprisonment

** Already in custody prior to Wednesday

Count 1: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine

Count 2: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine

Count 3: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin

Count 4: Money laundering

Over 6 kilos of cocaine, 147 lbs of meth, and approximately $300,000 were seized during Operation "Spanx," law enforcement officials said.

"This is the most significant operation that we've run in central Texas in years, if not ever," said Will Glaspy, the Special Agent in Charge with the DEA.

Glaspy also says the Cartel in Mexico is behind this drug ring.

Because of the nature of these crimes, neighbors and nearby businesses did not want to talk on record, but they did say they cannot believe this all went on right in front of their faces.

In the meantime, federal agents say neighbors can sleep easy after these arrests.

"Austin and central Texas is a much safer place today than they were yesterday when these guys were out on the street," Glaspy said.

According to authorities, many of the suspects involved in this drug ring can face the maximum sentence of life in prison.


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