LAREDO, Texas – A Laredo federal grand jury has returned
several unrelated indictments, four of which involved a methamphetamine
conversion lab, illegal firearms purchases and two habitual illegal aliens,
announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Gonzalez, 44, Ismael Espinoza-Martinez, 37, Jesus Sanchez-Rico, 42, and
Heriberto Castro-Escamilla, 45, were all originally charged by criminal
complaint and have remained in custody. Today, a Laredo grand jury returned
seven, one, one and seven-count indictments, respectively. They are all
expected for their arraignments before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga
in the near future.
Gonzalez is a legal permanent resident who resided in
Dallas and is charged with importing more than 43 kilograms of
methamphetamine and having a conversion lab found in a family home.
indictment alleges that on July 30, 2019, federal agents searched his family
home in Dallas, at which time, they allegedly found a liquid methamphetamine
conversion lab, two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, 13.5 kilograms of
liquid methamphetamine and conversion equipment. They also discovered a box of
empty bottles in his daughter’s bedroom closet that tested positive for
methamphetamine residue, according to the charges.
liquid methamphetamine was allegedly transported from Mexico via bus lines and
couriers through Laredo, to the Dallas residence where he converted it into
convicted, he faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison and a
possible $10 million maximum fine.
The two separate, but similar indictments against Mexican
citizens Espinoza-Martinez and Sanchez-Rico allege they illegally re-entered
the country on multiple occasions. According to the charges, Espinoza-Martinez
was removed from the U.S. a total of six times - March 26, 2004, Sept. 19,
2006, March 4, 2008, Feb. 25, 2012, March 24, 2015, and Aug. 3, 2018. The 2015
removal followed his conviction for driving while intoxicated, according to
court records. Nevertheless, he allegedly returned to the U.S. without
authorization near Hebbronville once again Aug. 25, 2019.
Authorities apprehended Sanchez-Rico near Laredo for
illegally re-entering the country Aug. 24, 2019, according to his charges. He
had allegedly been removed July 21, 2009, March 10, 2010, and March 18, 2019.
The final removal date was subsequent to a felony conviction for aggravated
If convicted, both men face up to 20 years in prison and
a maximum $250,000 possible fine.
Castro-Escamilla is a U.S. citizen who had lived in Nuevo
Laredo, Mexico, for 34 years. He is charged for his role in aiding and abetting
others and for making a false statement in connection with the purchase of
firearms. According to the criminal complaint, he purchased five AR-15 type
semi-automatic rifles over the course of three months beginning March 27, 2019.
On the federal form required for the purchases, he claimed the weapons were for
himself when, in fact, they were allegedly going to Mexico, according to the
If convicted, Castro-Escamilla faces up to 10 years in
federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the Gonzalez investigation
with the assistance of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office. Border Patrol and
HSI conducted the illegal re-entry investigations, while the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives handled the
Castro-Escamilla investigation with the assistance of HSI, Border Enforcement
Security Task Force and Laredo Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Mary McAuliffe is
prosecuting the methamphetamine and firearms cases, while AUSA Adam Harper is
handling the illegal re-entry matters.