HOUSTON - A federal judge has sentenced a 25-year-old
Houston resident to 19 years in prison following his convictions for meth
distribution and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a narcotics conspiracy,
announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick along with Special Agent in Charge Fred
Milanowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and
Regional Director Jason Taylor of Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) -
Criminal Investigations Division.
Elias Larry Luna pleaded guilty July 9. Also sentenced
today were co-conspirators Alfonso Rios and Jesus Jimenez, both 30 and also of
Houston. They had previously admitted to two
counts of narcotics distribution acting in
conspiracy with Luna.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas ordered Luna to
serve a total of 228 months in federal
prison which includes 168 months for the narcotics convictions and a
consecutive 60 months for the related firearms charge. The 19-year
sentence will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the
court heard additional evidence regarding the firearms Luna sold in conjunction
with the narcotics distribution. These included three semi-automatic rifles sold
to an undercover agent during the investigation leading to Luna’s arrest. The
court also heard about Luna’s involvement in the narcotics trafficking. In
imposing the sentence, Judge Atlas noted the event leading to Luna’s arrest was
the most “significant and negative transactions” she had seen.
Rios and Jimenez both received 15-year sentences.
“Removing armed drug traffickers from the streets will
have an immediate impact on the greater Houston community,” said Milanowski.
“We will continue our work to dismantle drug trafficking organizations through
our partnerships with local, state and federal authorities.”
"DPS worked collaboratively with our federal, state
and local agency partners to disrupt a violent drug trafficking
organization," said Taylor. "DPS Criminal Investigations Division
special agents, analysts and several other members of the department worked
many hours throughout this investigation, and their work has helped make Texas
At the time of his plea, Luna admitted he took part in a
drug trafficking conspiracy to distribute approximately 13 kilograms of meth in
the Heights neighborhood of Houston in September 2018. Luna also admitted he
was armed with a firearm during the conspiracy.
In August 2018,
authorities began investigating Luna for trafficking narcotics in the Houston
area. The investigation culminated in a September 2018 sting operation
resulting in his arrest and that of his co-conspirators while attempting to
sell approximately 13 kilograms of meth for $95,250. During the operation, Luna
attempted to engage in the narcotics sale, while Rios and Jimenez provided
counter-surveillance, attempting to conceal the drug trafficking. Despite the
presence of firearms, law enforcement ultimately apprehended all three men
Luna and Rios have
been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons
facility to be determined in the near future.
ATF and DPS led the investigation as part of a
multi-agency effort through the Texas Anti-Gang
Center with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Houston
Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Corley is prosecuting the