There were 17 people arrested in Texas in late February 2018, accused of being members of the Barrio Azteca gang, reported Texas Department of Public Safety officials, who held a news conference to announce the arrests. The arrests are related to drug charges and came as part of what Texas police referred to as “Operation Heroin Battle.” The arrests involved a number of state and national law enforcement departments, including local agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Homeland Security.
The people arrested were accused of being involved in the heroin trade near El Paso; there are also five more people already in jail who are facing drug charges in the alleged trafficking scheme. The charges laid against the suspects include manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance and engaging in organized criminal activity. While they were accused of doing so as part of the Barrio Azteca gang, police did not identify a specific role within the gang for the arrested people.
Police said that the heroin investigation had taken place for 20 months before the arrests were carried out. They said that they seized over $292,000 in funds in the course of the arrests, a significant amount of funds for street-level drug dealers. They also seized drugs, including five pounds, of heroin, 18 pounds of marijuana, three pounds of cocaine and around one pound of methamphetamine.
People facing drug charges in Texas, from simple possession charges to far more serious allegations like those faced by these suspects, can suffer lifelong consequences as a result of a conviction. From fines and prison time to a felony criminal record, drug charges can have an ongoing negative impact. A criminal defense attorney may be able help people facing drug charges to challenge police behavior and present a strong defense before and during trial.