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Houston women sentenced for trading illegal drugs for automatic weapons

BEAUMONT, Texas – Two Houston women have been sentenced for federal drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei on Friday.

Cristal Lagunas, 26, and Iris Venture, 22, were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine on March 18, 2020.  They pleaded guilty in September 2020.  Friday, both defendants were sentenced to 135 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

“This case exemplifies how multiple federal law enforcement agencies can work together to take down those involved in the illegal drug trade,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “We will continue to bring all resources to the fight against unlawful narcotics and firearms trafficking.”

According to information presented in court, on March 10, 2020, Lagunas and Ventura met an undercover federal agent at a credit union in Beaumont, Texas, to exchange a kilogram of methamphetamine and $600 cash for three fully automatic AK-47 rifles.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle S. Englade.