Sixteen individuals have been arrested on federal firearms and narcotics trafficking charges after two separate investigations into narcotics trafficking in the Waco and Bell County areas.
The United States Attorney's Office announced the arrests Thursday.
The first investigation resulted in nine arrests Thursday and three prior arrests based on five federal grand jury indictments unsealed in Waco.
During the investigation, authorities seized approximately two kilograms of methamphetamine, four kilograms of cocaine, approximately $50,000 in U.S. currency, four firearms, including a Mini Draco AK47 assault style pistol, several pounds of marijuana and several hundred THC vaping pens.
Authorities Thursday seized seven firearms, including two AR-15's, one AK47 pistol, and one AK47 rifle, and approximately $3,600 in U.S. currency.
The first indictment charges eight defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine in the Waco area since September 2018. Each defendant faces between ten years and life in prison upon conviction. Individuals charged include:
- 23-year-old Xavier Angelo Hernandez of Waco
- 29-year-old Steven Matthew Ochoa of Waco
- 26-year-old Julio Cesar Cruz of Waco
- 19-year-old Martin Zuniga, Jr. of Waco
- 28-year-old Gaspar Sardaneta Martinez of Waco
- 49-year-old Carline Stone Bolding of Elm Mott
- 40-year-old Cheryl Ann Flanagan of Waco
- 28-year-old Sabrina Maria Sardaneta of Robinson
The second indictment charges 20-year-old Christopher Mikel Clark of Waco with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Clark faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison upon conviction.
In June 2019, authorities executed a search warrant of Clark's residence and recovered marijuana and a Mini Draco AK47 assault style pistol.
The third indictment charges 26-year-old Joseph Ryan Edwards of Waco with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficing crime. He faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison upon conviction, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
During a traffic stop in June 2019, authorities searched Edwards' vehicle and found a .380 caliber pistol, 41 THC Oil pens and approximately $2,900 in U.S. currency.
The fourth indictment charges Steven Ochoa with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Ochoa faces between five years and 40 years in federal prison upon conviction.
In August 2019, Ochoa was arrested with four kilos of cocaine and approximately $16,000 in U.S. currency.
The fifth indictment charges 19-year-old Amor Esperanza Zuniga of Waco with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The indictment also charges Zuniga and 41-year-old Heraclio Santos Carreon of Waco with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Each drug charge calls for between five years and 40 years in federal prison upon conviction.
During a traffic stop on July 21, 2019, authorities search Zuniga's and Carreon's vehicles and discovered approximately 100 grams of methamphetamine and an RG 14, .22 caliber revolver.
The second investigation resulted in seven arrests Thursday stemming from a single federal grand jurdy indictment unsealed in Waco. The seven charged include:
- 33-year-old German Zarzoza Moreno of Temple
- 47-year-old Raul Montes of Galena Park
- 20-year-old Jaime Estrada, Jr. of Temple
- 25-year-old Jesus Albereto Garcia Zuniga of Temple
- 32-year-old Erik Enrique Hernandez of Temple
- 26-year-old Luis Carlos Jimenez. Jr. of Temple
- 29-year-old Ezequiel Orozco of Temple
The indictment charges Moreno, Montes and Estrada with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
Zuniga and Hernandez have only been charged with the cocaine conspiracy count.
Jimenez and Orozco have only been charged with the methamphetamine conspiracy count.
Those charged in the methamphetamine conspiracy count face between 10 years and life in federal prison upon conviction. Those charged in the cocaine conspiracy face between five and 40 years in federal prison.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, under the direction of Moreno and Montes, the defendants allegedly distributed cocaine and methamphetamine in the Temple area since May 2018.
In the second investigation, authorities conducted a coordinated search/arrest operation Thursday in the Temple and Houston areas.
Thursday's operation resulted in the seizure of approximately 2,853 grams of cocaine, 8.4 grams of ecstasy, and 31.9 grams of marijuana. Authorities also seized a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol, a false battery compartment, a kilogram press, and several other items indicative of distribution and transportation of cocaine and methamphetamine.