LUBBOCK, Texas — Federal officials said 40 people were charged in connection with a drug ring. Some of the information was released on Wednesday. A statement on Friday provided new details.
Prosecutors referred to the situation as “Operation Taste the Rainbow” because the defendants, they said, were dealing different colors of methamphetamines.
Fugitives, according to the US Department of Justice, included Oscar Alcala Jr., Alexandra Cruz, Bobby Joe “Ace” Garcia, Christopher Eldon “Skittles” Limbaugh, and Christopher Joshua Ruiz.
The following is a statement from the US Department of Justice:
40 Charged With Gun, Drug Crimes in Lubbock
Forty defendants – including 15 arrested in Wednesday’s “Operation Taste the Rainbow” in Lubbock – have been charged with gun and drug crimes, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.
The men and women, all allegedly tied to methamphetamine trafficking in and around Lubbock, have been charged in a series of three indictments with an array of federal crimes, primarily distribution of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of firearms, and conspiracy. They began making their initial appearances in federal court on Friday morning.
In bringing these charges, the United States Attorney’s Office focused on bringing to justice Lubbock’s most violent recidivists. Between them, the 40 defendants have been previously charged with 32 assaults, nine burglaries, three robberies, a murder, 24 firearm crimes, 69 serious controlled substance violations, three terroristic threats, a forgery, 12 frauds, and a child sexual assault.
In an effort to keep the community safe, FBI’s Dallas Field Division, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and their federal, state, and local law enforcement partners deployed nearly 200 personnel to execute Wednesday’s operation, which resulted in the arrest of 15 defendants. Meanwhile, agents served federal arrest warrants on an additional 20 defendants already behind bars. The remaining five defendants charged remain fugitives. Members of the public are encouraged to contact law enforcement at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) with tips.
Oscar Alcala Jr. (believed to be in Lorenzo)
Alexandra Cruz (believed to be in Lorenzo)
Bobby Joe “Ace” Garcia (believed to be in Lubbock)
Christopher Eldon “Skittles” Limbaugh (believed to be in Littlefield)
Christopher Joshua Ruiz (believed to be in Lubbock)
Those arrested Wednesday morning include:
Alexandria Unique Conner
Kelsey Marie Applegate
Ruby Alexis Banuelos
David Bustos, Jr.
Christopher Ray Lovington
Madison Whitney Michaels
Katie Dshawn Montez
Stephanie Shea Ortiz
Julie Ann “Juicy” Sifuentes (arrested in San Antonio)
Colten Shane White
Toby Mack Woods
Michael Joseph Ybarra
Those served with federal warrants while already in custody include:
Mark Adam “Cinco” Alonzo
Christopher Daniel Garcia
James Raul Garza
Austin Tyler Grant
Megan Francisca Gomez
Bobbi Jean Hendrix
Isaac Levi Hernandez
Jesse “J.J.” Martinez, Jr.
Robert Rangel, Jr.
Symon Anthony Maldonado
Alejandro Antonio “Ace” Mendez
Gabriel Lee Mendoza
Megan Francisca Gomez
Daniel Ramon, Jr.
Edilberto “Bird” Reyes
Samantha Denise Rodriguez
Jessie Luciano “Lucky” Salazar
Gerald Felipe “Gizmo” Vargas
“This was a victory for the rule of law in Lubbock. Dozens of criminals, and their guns, and their drugs were removed from the streets in a matter of hours, and the community is safer because of that,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “We zeroed in on the men and women who are driving up the city’s crime rates – the ones that are most responsible for the uptick in violent crime. Federal authorities are committed to partnering with state and local law enforcement to remove the worst criminal elements from this community, and we don’t plan to rest until we’re done.”
“The FBI’s criminal investigative focus is on targeting the overall leadership of gangs and criminal enterprises that drive violence in American communities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “Through our law enforcement partnerships and task forces we’re sending a loud and clear message to violent criminals that we will deploy our collective strength to ensure the safety and security of our neighborhoods and communities. In today’s world, the threats we face are too diverse, too dangerous, and too all-encompassing for any of us to tackle alone.”
“This is an excellent example of a law enforcement officer’s daily commitment to fulfill their sacred duty of serving and protecting. The Texas Department of Public Safety values the importance of the teamwork displayed during this successful operation with our city, county, and federal partners in achieving the common objective of providing safer communities for the citizens of the great State of Texas,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Joe Longway.
Indictments are merely allegations of wrongdoing, not evidence. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted, many of these defendants would face decades-long sentences.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Division – Lubbock Resident Agency and the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation with the help of six agency partners: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division, the Lubbock Police Department, the U.S. Marshals, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division, and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Long is prosecuting the case.