12 Arrested in Connection with San Antonio-Based Heroin and Cocaine Trafficking Operation
Federal and state authorities in the San Antonio area have arrested 12 individuals, including ringleaders Andrew Sanchez and Joe Anthony Ramirez of San Antonio, for their alleged roles in a narcotics distribution operation, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division.
On March 20, 2019, a federal grand jury in San Antonio returned two separate indictments related to this investigation. The first indictment charges 35-year-old Andrew Sanchez (aka “Freight,” “Hakeem”), 33-year-old Joe Anthony Ramirez (aka “Homeboy”), 37-year-old Lisa Mercado, 29-year-old Bonnie Sanchez (aka “B”), 18-year-old Rodrigo Roque (aka “Scrappy”) and 25-year-old Angel Roque (aka “Test”) with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine.
The indictment also charges Andrew Sanchez, Joe Ramirez, Lisa Mercado, Bonnie Sanchez and Rodrigo Roque with one substantive count of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. The indictment alleges that since May 1, 2018, this drug trafficking organization operated an on-demand delivery service for heroin on the east side of San Antonio. This organization maintained a phone which customers called to purchase heroin, and members worked daily shifts operating this phone and delivering narcotics. The indictment alleges that the organization sourced its narcotics from Joe Anthony Ramirez and others.
The second indictment charges Ramirez and members of his drug trafficking organization with one count of conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. Ramirez DTO members include: 36-year-old Ernest Rivas (aka “Chato”), 39-year-old Roy Ramirez, Jr. (aka “Jr.”), 63-year-old Roy Ramirez, Sr. (aka “Black Baby”, aka “Black”), 29-year-old Andrew Ybarra (aka “Drew”), 38-year-old Michael Vital and 53-year-old Abel Trejo.
The indictment also charges Joe Ramirez (2 counts), Roy Ramirez, Jr., Roy Ramirez, Sr., and Abel Trejo with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Joe Ramirez, Hinojosa, Rivas and Ybarra are also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin. According to the indictment, Joe Anthony Ramirez not only supplied Andrew Sanchez’s operation, he also ran his own drug distribution operation. This indictment alleges that since May 1, 2018, these defendants conspired to distribute heroin and cocaine to street-level dealers and collect proceeds from narcotics sales all across San Antonio.
Authorities are also seeking the criminal forfeiture of several residences and approximately $3,000 in U.S. Currency.
All of the defendants remain in federal custody pending detention hearings expected to occur in U.S. Magistrate Court in San Antonio beginning next week. The defendants face sentences ranging from up to 20 years imprisonment to up to life imprisonment upon conviction, depending on the amount of drugs involved.
The DEA and the Texas Department of Public Safety are investigating this case with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office; Seguin Police Department, Terrell Hills Police Department and the Bexar County District Attorney’s office. The San Antonio Police Department and the New Braunfels Police Department provided assistance with today’s arrests.
The principal mission of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering operations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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