“Wrecking Ball” lands LPR in federal prison

GALVESTON, Texas – A 44-year-old legal permanent resident from the Dominican Republic has been sentenced in a cocaine and heroin conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

A federal jury convicted Emilio Ramon Torres following an 11-day trial in August 2022. He was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine and one or more kilograms of heroin as well as possession with intent to distribute 16 kilograms of cocaine.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey V. Brown has now ordered him to serve a total of 120 months in federal prison. He could also lost his status to reside in the United States.

The investigation focused upon a group of distributors and their associates, primarily citizens of the Dominican Republic, who used common sources of drugs in Mexico to supply their customers in numerous states other than Texas. This group of distributors sold cocaine and heroin throughout the United States but operated out of the Houston area.

Torres worked within the drug trafficking organization by stashing cocaine at his apartment in Houston. He received shipments of cocaine and held them at his residence until instructed about how much to make available for delivery to customers.

The defense attempted to convince the jury Torres was an honest person who would not engage in drug distribution. The jury did not believe those claims and found Torres guilty as charged.  

He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation dubbed “Wrecking Ball” with the assistance of the Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Cusick is prosecuting the case.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.

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