LUBBOCK, Texas — On Wednesday, law enforcement officers and prosecutors in Lubbock asked permission from a judge to permanently keep a commercial trailer outfitted with a large hickory smoker and a generator – worth an estimated $26,000. They also asked permission to keep a “Sunshine Smoke House” trailer worth approximately $50,200.
The smoker-trailer was seized from Raul Perez, III and Krystal Ramos. The Sunshine Smoke House trailer was seized from Perez and Jeremy Wayne Beck. They were among 10 people accused of running a large cocaine ring, according to a government statement on October 15.
A government statement said Operation Los Perros De Nieve targeted nine locations in Lubbock and resulted in the seizure of approximately $40,000 in cash, five kilograms of cocaine and 13 firearms.
The seizure request said, “During the course of this investigation (which covered approximately three years) agents made multiple controlled purchases of cocaine from Raul Perez.”
It also said, “During this investigation, Raul Perez and a co-conspirator, Jeremy Beck, started purchasing equipment to open a barbecue business.”
For the first trailer, Perez documented the entire process of purchasing all the items and equipment on social media, the seizure warrant said. Assembling and purchasing the first trailer included a trip to St. Louis.
The second one included a trip by Perez and Beck to Florida.
The seizure request said in part: “During this trip, they visited a location where the movie ‘Scarface’ was filmed. Scarface is a movie about large scale cocaine trafficking. The main character in this movie is Tony Montana. This movie and Tony Montana are often referred to and idolized by cocaine traffickers like Raul Perez and Jeremy Beck.”
“During the process of purchasing this equipment, Raul Perez continued to post on social media about their barbecue business. He was going to name the business ‘Sunshine Smokehouse,’” the seizure request said.
Perez and Beck created a Facebook page to advertise business hours.
“Agents conducted surveillance during these hours he was open and would often observe a low attendance at the business,” the request said. “Raul Perez would also get on social media and advertise $5.00 for everything the last hour the business was open also most every time it was open.”
“Krystal Ramos also would work at Sunshine Smoke House part-time or on the weekends. Krystal Ramos was also involved in multiple controlled purchases,” the seizure request said.
Officers obtained a subpoena for the business account for Sunshine Smoke House.
“The deposits and withdrawals were all in small amounts. The amounts observed would not have been enough to maintain the business and several employees,” the seizure request said.
Beck’s truck was painted with the Sunshine Smoke House and used to pull the Sunshine Smoke House trailer. But it was also used to carry drugs, according to the seizure request. Officers tried to pull over Beck one night. He drove off during the traffic stop.
The request said Beck had between one and two kilos of cocaine with him in the truck at the time of the stop. Officers decided not to pursue but instead to arrest him later at his home.
Officers believe Perez and Beck purchased both the first smoker-trailer and the Sunshine Smoke House trailer “with proceeds gained from the sale of cocaine and marijuana.”
“… They used the business, Sunshine Smoke House, to launder the proceeds of this unlawful activity, based upon the facts detailed above.”
Perez, Ramos and Beck have not yet filed their side of the story in court records. They face pending federal charges.
Technically there were two separate court documents to seize the two trailers. The sworn affidavits in both are the same.