Federal Officials Release Information On Vernon Drug Bust - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Federal Officials Release Information On Vernon Drug Bust

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Newschannel 6 has new information following federal arrests made in Texoma Tuesday.

The U.S. Attorney General's office said six suspects have been arrested without incident. All six were named in two indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas last week. Those indictments are related to drug crimes.

The suspects arrested are: Armando Rodriguez, Jr., 43; Abraham Socorro Garcia, 22; Mario Escobar, Jr., 24; John Thomas Coston, 26; Beatrice Urista, 22

One indictment charged the defendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. In addition to the conspiracy charge, all are charged with at least one substantive count of distribution of cocaine and/or methamphetamine.  This indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit real estate as well as all proceeds received as a result of the offenses.

The other indictment charges one defendant, Jimmie Clifford Richardson, 47, also of Vernon, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine) as well as with four substantive counts of distributing crack cocaine. This indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which will require Richardson, upon conviction, to forfeit all proceeds received as a result of his offenses.

All of the suspects were arrested yesterday and appeared today before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert K. Roach in U.S. District Court in Wichita Falls, TX. All will remain in federal custody pending detention hearings set for next Monday and Tuesday before Judge Roach.

If convicted, each defendant faces a sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison and a fine of several million dollars.

The arrests are the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Vernon and Wichita Falls, Texas, Police Departments and the Wilbarger County District Attorney's Office.  During the course of executing several federal and state search and arrest warrants yesterday, law enforcement seized narcotics, drug distribution paraphernalia, firearms and cash. 

Officials say the investigation remains ongoing.