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Federal indictments in Waco meth distribution investigation name 27 suspects

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Following an investigation into a meth distribution ring by multiple law enforcement agencies, 27 people, most from the Waco area, were indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with a multitude of crimes, including drug distribution and weapons violations, officials announced in a press release Thursday.

The press release says 26 of the 27 defendants have been arrested, with one person remaining a fugitive as of Thursday. If convicted, most of the defendants would face up to life in prison, according to the press release.

The press release says the following people were charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine:

  • Jason Fletcher, 38, of Belton
  • Luis Guillermo Martinez, 28, of Waco
  • Karen Pendola Bennett, 45, of Waco
  • Jesus Espinoza Lopez, 33, of Waco
  • Patricia Nelson, 49, of Waco
  • Robert Johnson, 46, of Woodway
  • Clayton Wilkins, 62, of Waco
  • Alejandro Solis, 32, of Waco
  • Jesus Castellanos-Renteria, 39, of Houston
  • Gustavo Alvarado Guerrero, 29, of Waco
  • William Charles Herrera, 30, of Waco
  • Maria Picon, 35, of Clifton
  • Rogers Anthony Marshall, 49, of Valley Mills
  • Denecia Alley, 32, of Waco
  • Jovita Ibarra, 28, of Waco
  • Lance John Showen, 51, of Waco
  • Hector Dominguez, 31, of Waco
  • Nicholas Ray Ramirez, 41, of Waco
  • Flocelo Mondragon Jr., 35, of McGregor
  • Alfred Turner, 28, of Waco
  • Areli Martinez Torrez, 38, of McGregor
  • Alexxus Briann Arocha, 26, of Waco
  • Felix Alberto Huezo-Hernandez, 33, of Waco
  • Sonya Renee Hughes, 44, of Waco
  • Steven Merritt, 52, of Bruceville-Eddy

The press release says Wilkins, Arocha, Huezo-Hernandez, Hughes and Merritt face 40 years in prison for the conspiracy charge if convicted, and all other defendants face life in prison if convicted.

Additionally, the press release says Marshall and Picon have been charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal drug trafficking crime. If convicted, the press release says they face up to five years in prison to run consecutive with any other sentence they receive.

The press release also says Bennett is the only defendant who has not yet been arrested.

The press release says Able Chavez, 25, of Waco, was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine and one count possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal drug trafficking crime. If convicted, the press release says he faces life in prison for the drug charge and up to five years for the gun charge, which would run consecutive to any other sentence. Chavez also was named as one of three arrested suspect in a bust involving 38.5 pounds of meth announced earlier this week, but it is unclear what the extent of the connection is between the two announcements.

The press release says Andrew Ochoa, 36, of Waco, was charged with one count of making a false statement in acquisition of a firearm and faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The press release says investigators believe Ochoa was purchasing and delivering firearms to a 13-year-old.

The press release says the investigation was done by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Texas Department of Public Safety, Waco Police Department and the sheriff's offices of McLennan and Bell counties.

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