HFD firefighter accused of drug trafficking

August 26, 2009 8:44:27 PM PDT
A Houston firefighter was caught up in a major drug bust in Texas. That firefighter was one of more than two dozen people targeted. Christopher Fillmore, 39, is assigned to Fire Station 67 in Acres Homes, but he now sits in a federal jail in Beaumont. When Fillmore wasn't fighting fires, the government alleges he was in the middle of a drug trafficking ring.

At Houston Fire Station 67, someone will now have to pick up a shift. The station is down a man as Fillmore sits in jail.

"The cops pulled up and handcuffed him and took him inside," neighbor Bobby Lopez said.

Lopez watched as Fillmore was arrested outside his northwest Harris County home early Wednesday morning. One of Fillmore's personal vehicles bears the fire department emblem, but authorities believe he led a secret life.

Fillmore was arrested during an Immigration Customs Enforcement-led sweep in Houston, McAllen and Brownsville. Federal and local officers were looking for about two dozen people indicted on drug trafficking charges. They found 16.

According to federal sources, these weren't two bit drug dealers. They are believed to be linked to the violent Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas.

The indictment alleges Fillmore and the other suspects trafficked a large amount of marijuana throughout south and southeast Texas and made major money from their exploits.All of them are charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana.

HFD released a statement in response to the arrest that reads in part, "This is an unfortunate incident and the Houston Fire Department will offer full cooperation with any of the investigating agencies involved."

Back at his northwest side home, although Fillmore didn't welcome strangers and has a camera above his doorway, Lopez says he was just like any other neighbor.

"From what I know he's a nice guy," said Lopez. "It's kind of hard to believe."

Neighbors say Fillmore does have two children. He's been with HFD for seven years. If convicted, Fillmore and the other defendants could each face up to life in federal prison.

Here is the complete list of defendants with their year of birth and place of residence:

  • Humberto Delgado Jimenez, 1956, McAllen, TX
  • Guillermo Delgado Jimenez, 1958, Houston, TX
  • Roberto Delgado Jimenez , 1966, McAllen, TX
  • Israel Jimenez, Jr., 1964, Houston, TX
  • Jose Emmanuel Sanchez, 1984, Brownsville, TX
  • Norman Christopher Lambridia, 1962, Houston, TX
  • Juan Sustaita, 1955, Houston, TX
  • Ruth Molina Sustaita, 1967, Houston, TX
  • Rico Marie Sustaita, 1986, Houston, TX
  • James Alexander Smith, 1977, Houston, TX
  • Christopher Dewayne Fillmore, 1970, Houston, TX
  • Guadalupe Huerta Diaz, 1974, Houston, TX
  • Domingo Chavez Segoviano, 1955, Edinburg, TX
  • Hopeton Joseph Reid, 1968, West Palm Beach, FL
  • Louis Albert Guajardo, 1967, Nashville, TN
  • Abelardo Guerra, 1972, Houston, TX

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