HOUSTON – A 34-year-old Mexican national has been ordered
to federal prison for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute heroin,
announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Victor Manuel Morales-Moreno pleaded
guilty Oct. 2, 2018, admitting to conspiring to distribute heroin to street
level dealers and users for more than two years.
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen handed Morales-Moreno a 210-month
sentence. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings
following the prison term. In handing down the sentence, the court noted Moreno
was the leader of a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing
kilogram quantities of methamphetamine and heroin imported from Mexico.
Morales had relocated to Houston from California
to take over a heroin trafficking ring following the arrests and incarceration
of his relatives Jose Herrera-Alvarado and Pedro Herrera-Alvarado. The
Herrera-Alvarado brothers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent
to distribute heroin and were later
sentenced to life in federal prison.
Erasto Aguirre-Suarez, 52, a Mexican
national, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute heroin. He admitted he moved to Texas with Morales-Moreno to assist
him in the daily operations of the heroin business. A third co-defendant,
Valentin Anthony Cardenas, 35, of Houston, previously entered his plea possession
with intent to distribute heroin.
Aguirre-Suarez and Cardenas previously
received respective terms of 114 and 84 months.
They all have been and will remain in custody
pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the
The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey N. MacDonald is prosecuting the case.