DOJ: Houston drug operation dismantled

February 17, 2011 12:32:32 PM PST
Federal agents say they have shut down a portion of Mexico's Gulf Cartel that had been operating here in Houston. Agents raided a home in east Houston on Wednesday and made several arrests. After more than four years of investigations at the hands of several federal agencies, the US Department of Justice announced that it has shut down part of the Houston hub for the Mexican drug cartel. This comes after the DOJ says it arrested Edward Longoria, who's allegedly the leader of the Longoria family cocaine and marijuana distribution operation in Houston. Authorities also arrested the family accountant, along with 13 others. All but four are from the Houston area.

Defendants arrested are:

  • Terence Comeilus Young (aka "T") - Age 26, of Humble, TX,
  • Leon Woodward (aka "Za") - Age 42, of Upper Darby, PA
  • Edward Longoria (aka "Marlo", "E", "Ed") - Age 42, of Spring, TX
  • Lorenzo Mota Espinosa (aka "Primo", "Daniel", "Brother-in-law", "Traffic", "EI- Travieso") - Age 40, of Spring, TX
  • Lawrence Ballard (aka "Beaver") - Age 41, of Richmond, TX
  • Alvaro Teodoro Soto (aka "Puma", "AI", "Old Man") - Age 50, of Spring, TX
  • Warren Randle (aka "West", "W", "J Dub", "JDov") - Age 41, of Houston, TX
  • Marco Antonio Villareal (aka "Rojo", "Red) - Age 43, of Conroe, TX
  • Frank Young (aka "Noonie") - Age 40, of Houston, TX
  • Mindy Kay McGilvrey (aka "Mindy Kay") - Age 38, Spring, TX
  • Jonathan Williams (aka "Kilo") - Age 42, of Jackson, MS
  • Frederick Franklin (aka "Diddy") - Age 42, of Jackson, MS
  • Xavier Gray (aka "X", "Javier") - Age 32, of Nashville, TN
  • Gilbert Galindo (aka "Gilberto") - Age 42, of Houston, TX
  • Gabriel Jaime Leal, Jr. (aka "Gabe") - Age 27, of Houston, TX

Authorities say the family transported and distributed millions of dollars in drugs brought in from Mexico and sent to the East Coast including New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

The three count sealed indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on November 17, 2010, charging 15 defendants with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The indictment alleges that from 1995 to 2010, the defendants, from Texas, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Tennessee, conspired to distribute cocaine and marijuana through east Texas. They are also accused of being involved in a money laundering conspiracy in support of their drug trafficking activities.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of $40 million; 11 pieces of real estate property in Houston, Spring, Conroe and Richmond, Texas; and six automobiles including a Ford F-150 Raptor, a Jeep Rubicon, a Hummer and a Chevrolet Tahoe.

The Department of Justice said they are confident they have dismantled this family's Houston operation, a family that allegedly has strong ties to the dangerous Gulf Cartel.

"Houston is the 900-pound gorilla for drug trafficking in the southwest. It's no secret that it is a center point for the drug distribution strategy, the money laundering strategy for the Mexican cartels," said John Bales of the US Attorney's Office.

The DOJ says it realizes there are other drug trafficking operations in Houston and they are hoping to dismantle those as well.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the cocaine charge; a minimum of five years and up to 40 for the marijuana charge; and up to 20 years in federal prison for the money laundering charge.