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

According to the Department of Public Safety, 20 people have been arrested in connection to a drug trafficking operation in the Taylor, Texas, area.
From left: Horace Caruther, Gregory Bean, Trevor Hunt, Kenneh Garza, William Collins, Robert White, James McNeal.

Together, federal and state authorities in the Austin area apprehended 20 individuals this week for their alleged roles in a narcotics distribution ring operating in the area of Taylor, Texas.

The arrests include:

- Horace Lee Caruther, 42, of Round Rock, who officials described as the "ringleader"
- Trevor Deshaun Hunt, 25, of Taylor
- Gregory Bean Jr., 44, of Pflugerville
- William Collins (aka “Bugs”), 61, of Taylor
- James Wilbert McNeal, 70, of Round Rock
- Robert Carl White, 38, of Temple
- Daniel Sanchez-Benitez, 38, of Pflugerville
- Angel Amado Rodriguez, 23, of Austin
- Kenneth Xavier Garza, 22, of Pflugerville
- Salomon Orozco-Benitez (aka “Viejito”), 33, of Austin
- David Ibarra, 25, of Broadway, N.C.
- Esmeralda Rodriguez, 22, of Austin
- Jesus Parra-Martinez (aka “Chuy”), 23, of Austin
- Jose Parra-Martinez, 35, of Austin
- Sandra Parra-Velez (aka “La Coyota”), 33, of Austin
- Elias Montiel, 26, of Sandford, N.C.
- Federico Alvarez-Mendoza, 36, of Cameron, N.C.
- Maria Bustamante, 52, of Laredo
- Ana Gonzalez, 47, of Laredo
- Adriana Deleza, 42, of Laredo

A federal grand jury in Austin indicted the defendants on Nov. 21 and charged them with one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The jury also charged Orozco, Montiel, Alvarez, Ibarra, Sanchez, Parra-Velez, Jesus Parra-Martinez, Deleza and Gonzalez with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the DPS, the organization was allegedly responsible for the distribution of large amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine and diverted pharmaceutical narcotics from July 2016 to October 2017. The defendants would allegedly transport the drugs to areas across the U.S., including North Carolina, for further distribution. They would also allegedly collect, transport and launder cash proceeds derived from the sale of narcotics.

Officials said the investigation to date has resulted in the arrests of 26 defendants and the seizure of $161,020, six kilograms of cocaine, two ounces of "crack" cocaine, 42 pounds of marijuana and three guns.

All defendants remain in federal custody pending detention hearings expected to occur in U.S. Magistrate Court in Austin next week, the DPS said. Defendants who received a drug conspiracy charge face a mandatory ten years to life imprisonment upon conviction. Those who received a money laundering conspiracy charge face up to 20 years imprisonment upon conviction.