McALLEN, Texas – Several Fort Worth area meth runners and
their recruiter have been sentenced for their roles in a half-year meth
importing conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The case
involved the seizure of seven meth loads with a combined weight of more than
Aren Reyes, 23, Teresa Gonzales, 27, Francisca Baez, 53,
and Yesenia Garcia, 27, all of Fort Worth; and Ofelia Hernandez Vasquez, 26,
Saginaw, pleaded guilty in late 2017.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez handed the
main recruiter - Reyes - a 240-month sentence to be immediately followed by
three years of supervised release. Also sentenced today were drug mules
Gonzales and Garcia, who received respective sentences of 58 and 60 months in
federal prison. Vasquez was sentenced to a term of 40 months, while Baez was
ordered to serve a 75-month term of imprisonment. Both were drug smugglers in
In handing down the sentences, the court noted this was
not the only load of drugs Gonzalez, Garcia and Vasquez had smuggled and could
have changed their minds at any time and not participated in the long drive
from Fort Worth. The court also mentioned that even if Baez was unable to stop
her son - Reyes - from narcotics trafficking, she could have avoided joining
her son in his criminal activities. Prior to assessing the 20-year
sentence upon Reyes, Judge Alvarez considered the number of individuals he
recruited into the drug trafficking ring and how many he affected with such a
serious and destructive drug as meth.
Reyes was the main recruiter of drug mules for this drug
trafficking organization and would frequently accompany them to the Rio Grande
Valley to coordinate the importation of the drugs into the U.S. She would also
travel up to Houston and occasionally, to the state of Georgia. He would escort
the mules to make sure they got the drugs successfully past ports of entry and
On April 30, 2017, Vasquez and her brother, Manuel
Martinez, 40, Saginaw, Texas, were arrested at the Anzalduas port of entry with
approximately 30 kilos of meth in their vehicle. The drugs were stashed in a
load of milk and juice containers to try to avoid suspicion. Martinez was
sentenced previously to 120 months in for his role in the crime.
The next months, Garcia and Gonzales were arrested at the
Progreso port of entry. They attempted to smuggle 11 kilograms of meth into the
country in their vehicle - hidden in bags of candy.
Reyes also used his boyfriend, Brandon Morrison, and his
mother, Baez, in the scheme. On Aug. 6, 2017, Morrison and Baez pushed a cart
loaded with drinks into the Brownsville Port of Entry from Mexico. Upon
Investigation, authorities soon discovered 15 kilograms of meth hidden within
the coconut water bottles in Morrison’s cart. Morrison previously received a
will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to
be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security
Investigations and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Lindenmuth is prosecuting the cases.