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9 West Texans arrested for roles in drug distribution conspiracy

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LUBBOCK, Texas - Nine West Texans – including four alleged members of the prison-based street gang Texas Syndicate – are facing charges for their alleged roles in what federal authorities are calling a "methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana distribution conspiracy."

U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas made the announcement in a news release Friday.

Each of the nine is charged with "one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams and more of methamphetamine, 500 grams and more of cocaine and marijuana, as well as one count of using a communication facility to facilitate the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and aiding and abetting," the release said.

Those arrested include:

*- Cruz Perez, aka "Travieso," 40

*- Christopher Lee Gonzalez, aka "Gonzo," 43

*- Victor Manuel Castillo, aka "Victor Manuel Garza," 43

*- Christopher David Gonzales, aka "Chris," 41

*- Evan Cruz Parson, aka "Evan," 21

*- Alexander Alfonzo Mendoza, aka "Alex," 20

*- Jose Gutierrez, III, aka "Baby Joey," 21

*- Jasmine Pillar Hernandez, aka "Crazy," 32

*- Crystal Dimas, aka "Babe," 28

"There remain several fugitives in the case," Parker said.

Perez, Gonzalez, Gonzales and Parson are allegedly members of the Texas Syndicate, according to an indictment.

In addition, Perez, Gonzalez, Castillo, Gonzales, Mendoza, Gutierrez and Hernandez are also each charged with "at least one count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and aiding and abetting," the release said.

Perez is also charged with two counts, and defendants Parson and Mendoza are each charged with one count, of "managing a drug premise and aiding and abetting."

The defendants face stiff penalties if convicted.

According to Parker:

*- If convicted, the conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years.

*- Each of the methamphetamine distribution counts carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years.

*- The use of a communication facility count carries a statutory minimum penalty of four years.

*- The managing a drug premise count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years.

*- Fines could range from $250,000 to $4 million.

Participating in the arrests were special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Also assisting were police departments in Big Spring, Sundown and Levelland, sheriff's departments in Howard County and Lubbock County, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations

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