Members of a drug ring, with ties to Taylor, were sentenced Tuesday by an Austin federal judge.

William Collins (aka “Bugs”), 62, and Trevor Deshaun Hunt, 26, both from Taylor, were among 17 people sentenced for their alleged roles in a drug distribution ring that had operated for more than a year in and around the Taylor area.

The suspects were arrested last year.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Horace Lee Caruther, 43, of Round Rock, was the ringleader of the effort. He was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison.

Collins was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison. Hunt was sentenced to 57 months.

According to court records, from July 2016 to October 2017, members of this organization were responsible for the distribution of large amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine and diverted pharmaceutical narcotics.

The narcotics would be transported from Laredo to Central Texas and ultimately to areas across the U.S., including North Carolina, for further distribution. Defendants would also collect, transport and launder cash proceeds derived from the sale of narcotics.

According to Daryl Fields, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Western District of Texas, the investigation resulted in the arrests and conviction of 20 defendants. In addition, the probe seized $161,020 in U.S. currency, six kilograms of cocaine, two ounces of “crack” cocaine, 42 pounds of marijuana and three guns.

Others sentenced Tuesday include:

  • Gregory Bean, Jr., 45 of Pflugerville, TX, to 15 months in federal prison;
  • Robert Carl White, 39 of Temple, TX, to 77 months in federal prison;
  • Angel Amado Rodriguez, 24 of Austin, to 188 months in federal prison;
  • Kenneth Xavier Garza, 23 of Austin, to 60 months in federal prison;
  • Esmerelda Rodriguez, 23 of Austin, to three years probation;
  • Salomon Orozco-Benitez (aka “Viejito”), 34 of Austin, to 168 months in federal prison;
  • Elias Montiel, 27 of Sanford, NC, to 46 months in federal prison;
  • Federico Alvarez-Mendoza, 37 of Cameron, NC, to 30 months in federal prison;
  • David Ibarra, 26 of Broadway, NC, to 30 months in federal prison;
  • Miguel Benitez-Benitez (aka “Daniel Sanchez Benitez”), 39 of Pflugerville, to 262 months in federal prison;
  • Sandra Parra-Velez (aka “La Coyota”), 34 of Austin, to 70 months in federal prison;
  • Jose Parra-Martinez (aka “Vitaminas”), 36 of Austin, to 60 months in federal prison;
  • Maria Loreto Bustamonte, 53 of Laredo, TX, to time served (approx. 14 months incarceration); and,
  • Ana Patricia Gonzalez, 48 of Laredo, to three years probation.

Previously, Garza and Parra-Martinez pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and Esmerelda Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of felony. The remaining defendants mentioned above pleaded guilty to either conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine or possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Co-defendant James Wilbert McNeil, 71, of Round Rock, was sentenced on August 27, 2018, to time served (approx. 9 months incarceration) after pleading guilty to one count of misprision of felony. Also, co-defendant Jesus Parra-Martinez (aka “Chuy”), age 24 of Austin, was sentenced on October 26, 2018, to 87 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

The arrests and convictions were the result of a two-year investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The principal mission of the (OCDETF) program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug and weapons trafficking and money laundering operations.

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