LUBBOCK, TX (PRESS RELEASE) - Christopher Lee Gonzalez, aka “Gonzo,” 43, was sentenced today [Friday] by Senior U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 327 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in October 2016 to his role in a methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana distribution conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Twelve individuals were arrested and charged with similar federal offenses, stemming from their respective roles in a drug distribution conspiracy that operated in West Texas. Of those arrested, each defendant has pled guilty. Two defendants remain fugitives.
According to plea documents filed in the case, on October 4, 2015, Gonzales distributed and possessed with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. The investigation revealed that late that morning, Gonzalez and co-conspirator Jasmine Pilar Hernandez traded multiple calls and text messages discussing a drug transaction that was going to occur later that day. At approximately 10:10 a.m., Hernandez told Gonzales that “the old man that brings it ... was on his way.” The “old man that brings it” was subsequently identified as co-defendant Belizario Salas-Avenado. Salas remains a fugitive.
Agents established surveillance on Salas’ residence located in Levelland, Texas. At approximately 1:30 p.m., a 2001 Chevrolet Suburban left the residence and traveled to the United Supermarket in Levelland, Texas. Salas purchased a box of Gain laundry detergent and a six pack of beer. Salas then returned to his residence.
At approximately 3:13 p.m., Hernandez told Gonzales, “In 25 minutes, he’ll be here.” Agents observed Salas and two unknown males leave Salas’ residence in the 2001 Chevrolet Suburban and head toward Lubbock, Texas. At approximately 3:30 p.m., a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper stopped the 2001 Chevrolet Suburban, driven by Salas for traffic violations. Salas was arrested for no driver’s license. Salas stated that the two passengers where his nephews. The rear seat passenger was seated next to a white laundry basket and a box of Gain detergent which appeared to have been tampered with. When the trooper opened the box of detergent, a white plastic bag, containing a crystal-like substance was partially concealed in the detergent.
At approximately 4:05 p.m., Gonzales told Hernandez, “call me when they get there and I’ll go by.” At approximately 4:41 p.m., Hernandez indicated she had tried to call “them people ... twice.” At approximately 8:30 p.m., Gonzales advised Hernandez, “They got um,” referring to the arrest of Salas.
On October 5, 2015, Gonzales instructed Hernandez, “Do not tell nobody... about them getting caught....” “If they asked what happened ... that you still haven’t got nothing. That they ran out or something, you know. Don't tell them that they got caught up, man.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the DEA investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Juanita Fielden and Sean Long prosecuted.
(Press release from office of U.S. Attorney)
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