TAYLOR, Texas — Seventeen people on Tuesday received prison sentences for their roles in a crack cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking operation in and around Taylor, Texas.

A federal judge in Austin sentenced the 17 people, including ringleader Horace Lee Caruther. Those 17 people include:

  • Horace Lee Caruther, age 43 of Round Rock, to 210 months in federal prison
  • William Collins (aka “Bugs”), age 62 of Taylor, to 87 months in federal prison
  • Trevor Deshaun Hunt, age 26 of Taylor, to 57 months in federal prison
  • Gregory Bean Jr., age 45 of Pflugerville, to 15 months in federal prison
  • Robert Carl White, age 39 of Temple, to 77 months in federal prison
  • Angel Amado Rodriguez, age 24 of Austin, to 188 months in federal prison
  • Kenneth Xavier Garza, age 23 of Austin, to 60 months in federal prison
  • Esmerelda Rodriguez, age 23 of Austin, to three years probation
  • Salomon Orozco-Benitez (aka “Viejito”), age 34 of Austin, to 168 months in federal prison
  • Elias Montiel, age 27 of Sanford, N.C., to 46 months in federal prison
  • Federico Alvarez-Mendoza, age 37 of Cameron, N.C., to 30 months in federal prison
  • David Ibarra, age 26 of Broadway, N.C., to 30 months in federal prison
  • Miguel Benitez-Benitez (aka “Daniel Sanchez Benitez”), age 39 of Pflugerville, to 262 months in federal prison
  • Sandra Parra-Velez (aka “La Coyota”), age 34 of Austin, to 70 months in federal prison
  • Jose Parra-Martinez (aka “Vitaminas”), age 36 of Austin, to 60 months in federal prison
  • Maria Loreto Bustamonte, age 53 of Laredo, to time served (approximately 14 months incarceration)
  • Ana Patricia Gonzalez, age 48 of Laredo, to three years probation

RELATED: 20 arrested in connection to Taylor-based crack cocaine, meth operation

According to the Department of Justice, Garza and Parra-Martinez previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and Esmerelda Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of felony. The remaining defendants pleaded guilty to either conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine or possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

James Wilbert McNeil, age 71 of Round Rock, another co-defendant, was sentenced on Aug. 27, to time served (approximately nine months incarceration) after pleading guilty to one count of misprision of felony. Additional co-defendant Jesus Parra-Martinez (aka “Chuy”), age 24 of Austin, was sentenced on Oct. 26, to 87 months in federal prison after he pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

Court records dated from July 2016 through October 2017 indicate that members of the operation would transport narcotics from Laredo to Central Texas, and later across the U.S. for further distribution. The defendants would collect, transport and launder cash proceeds from the sales.

The DOJ said this investigation has resulted in the arrests and convictions of 20 defendants; and the seizure of $161,020, six kilograms of cocaine, two ounces of crack cocaine, 42 pounds of marijuana and three guns.

The case was investigated by the DEA Austin High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, in addition to members of local law enforcement.