Coke & Meth Ring Rolled Up in Texas

     DALLAS (CN) – The 24-year-old leader of a cocaine and methamphetamine ring that operated throughout Texas was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison.

     Ricardo Valdiviez of Brownsville was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 188 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $3.2 million. Valdiviez pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
     Valdiviez and nine co-defendants were arrested on Dec. 5, 2008, on conspiracy charges. Prosecutors said they were members and associates of the West Texas Puro Tango Blast prison gang, which distributed, and possessed with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.
     “The arrests were made in the Abilene area as well as in Brownsville, Arlington, and Corpus Christi, Texas,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. “The indictment alleged that the defendants would acquire large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine, transport it to various locations, and then store it at various locations.”
     Eight of the defendants have pleaded and have been sentenced:
     Ramiro Olivo, aka “Burrito,” 28, of Arlington, sentenced to 108 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $537,000.
     Steven Ildefonso Flores, 33, of Abilene, was sentenced to 168 months.
     Larry Villareal, 32, of Abilene, received 235 months.
     Serafin Moreno, aka “Serf,” 31, of Corpus Christi, was sentenced to 168 months.
     Eric Tonche, aka “Quat,” 27, of Abilene, was sentenced to 210 months.
     Jacob Adam Garcia, aka “Little Jake,” 25, of Abilene, received 71 months.
     Rolando Solis, 27, of Abilene, was sentenced to 37 months.
     Jennifer Grace Cortez, 26, of Abilene, was sentenced to 46 months.
     Fidel Gomez, aka “Gordo,” 44, was already in custody at the time of the arrests. An illegal alien who resided in Abilene, Gomez pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and agreed to forfeit $537,000 and his residence in Stephens County, Texas. His sentencing is scheduled for July 10.
     Joe Diaz, aka “Ant,” 26, of Abilene, was also in custody at the time. Diaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy; a sentencing date has not yet been set.
     Lorenzo Barela, 29, of Abilene, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and was sentenced to 37 months.
     David Rodriguez, 34, aka “Super Dave,” remains a fugitive.

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