Special to The Leader
Eleven individuals have been indicted for being involved in a major cocaine distribution ring responsible for money laundering and trafficking drugs through the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales.
An indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on Apr. 4, 2012, charging three individuals with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine. A separate two-count indictment was returned on Feb. 6, 2013 charging eight individuals with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to launder money. Federal agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation executed arrest warrants for the 11 defendants.
Those named in the indictments, which were unsealed today, are: Jerry Trevino, 46, Spring, Texas; Alvin Nelson, 60, Houston; Thomas Drew Widak, 44, Houston; Cesar I. Alvarez-Barrera, 43, Tomball, Texas; Eduardo Silva, 39, Roma, Texas; Juan Javier Correa, 53, McAllen, Texas; Douglas Francis Waindel, 29, Atlanta, GA; Jaime Luis Vivero-Flores, 46, Houston; Jesus Amaya-Saenz, 29, Hockley, Texas; Alfredo Soto-Valdez, 39, Austin; and Sandra Calderon Martinez, 31, Houston.
The April 2012 indictment alleges that from 1995 to June 2011, Trevino, Nelson and Widak conspired with others to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine in the Eastern District of Texas and elsewhere.
The February 2013 indictment alleges that from 2003 to February 2013, Alvarez-Barrera, Silva, Correa, Waindel, Vivero-Flores, Amaya-Saenz, Soto-Valdez, and Martinez conspired to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine in the Eastern District of Texas and elsewhere. They are also charged with conspiring to launder the proceeds of their illegal drug trafficking enterprise.
This case is the result of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) joint investigation. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
During this operation, two individuals (Barrera and Trevino) believed to be leaders of major drug trafficking were arrested. Correa, who is also believed to be the leader of a major drug trafficking organization, remains at large. Law enforcement authorities are also still searching for Amaya-Saenz and Martinez.
The defendants all face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for the drug conspiracy charge. The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Port Arthur Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Texas Department of Public Safety. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.