23 arrested in El Paso area for alleged involvement in drug trafficking

EL PASO, Texas - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced Thursday that 23 people were apprehended in connection with a multi-agency investigation of an alleged El Paso-based drug trafficking organization. 

 Since May of 2012, DPS agents and troopers, along with El Paso District Attorney BPU, HSI, FBI, DEA, TABC, CBP, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Marshals Service, El Paso Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff's Office and Socorro Police Department have been investigating this organization.

DPS officials allege that the organization delivered large quantities of cocaine and marijuana to El Paso-area locations and that those arrested include Barrio Azteca gang members and associates.

"Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of local, state and federal law enforcement partners, the El Paso community is a safer place today with these suspects off the streets," said DPS Regional Commander Carey Matthews, Region 4. "Organized crime and drug trafficking are serious concerns for the entire state of Texas, and DPS will continue to investigate all individuals involved in these criminal activities."

The defendants were taken to the El Paso County Jail and face state charges for engaging in organized criminal activity/conspiracy, and the manufacture/delivery of drugs.  Three additional suspects remain at large.

The following individuals were arrested:

Samuel Salas, 35

Juan Espino, 35

Francisco Rodriguez, 34

Sergio Martinez, 46

Gerardo Bravo-Cisneros, 26

Fernando Aguirre, 27

Gilbert Mendoza, 33

David Steven Arenas, 20

Bianca Contreras, 30

Miguel Anibal Rivera, 25

Ann Armendariz, 40

Gabriela Salas, 36

Vanessa Carrera, 27

Teresa Gardea Ramirez, 30

Raymond Dewayne Roberts II, 28

Patrick Wells, 31

Danielle Taylor, 26

Luis Carlos Arzola, 29

Jason Morales, 31

Sergio Hurtado, 34

Omar Varela, 19

Adrian Montellano, 27

Raymond Holguin (who was already in custody), 24

"In this investigation, DEA worked jointly with the Texas Department of Public Safety and other federal, state and local agencies to target a cocaine distribution network operating in the El Paso area.   Illegal drugs such as cocaine can destroy the lives of those who abuse them and have far-reaching negative effects in the communities where they take hold.  Through this case, DEA and its state law enforcement partners are sending a strong and unified message that drug dealing, at all levels, will not be tolerated.  In turn, we are making our communities safer," said Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-El Paso Division.   

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