AUG 21 (CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) - The last man involved in a massive marijuana distribution organization has been sentenced to federal prison, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Ricardo Jason Villeza, 41, is the last of eight defendants sentenced for their respective roles in the conspiracy. All men had previously entered guilty pleas in the case.
Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered Villeza, of Encino, California, to serve 28 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by a three-year-term of supervised release. The leader of the conspiracy, Arnulfo Molina Jr., 41, of Carrollton, was sentenced last month to 108 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release. At that hearing, the court found Molina responsible for nearly 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Testimony at the various sentencing hearings revealed the extent of the smuggling conspiracy, which was in existence from 2009-2012. Authorities began to dismantle the organization after a lone driver, Neal Douglas Head, 25, of Fort Worth, came into the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint with 70 pounds of marijuana hidden in his truck’s gas tank. After his arrest, agents discovered numerous marijuana seizures at the Falfurrias and Sarita checkpoints in which the drugs were hidden in a similar manner. Head received a sentence of 21 months in federal prison.
Eventually, five more drivers were charged and convicted, including Villeza. Steven Alan Thomas, 56, of Garland, received a 60-month sentence, while William Edward Brooks, 58, of Midlothian, Terry Lynn Riley, 58, of Granbury, and Stephen Kaluzny, 51, of Carrollton, received respective sentences of 62, 12, and 20 months.
Travis Cory Davis, 31, of Granbury, recruited many of the drivers and distributed the marijuana along with Molina. He was sentenced in 2013 to a total of 108 months in prison followed by a five-year term of supervised release.
All defendants have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to U.S. Bureau of Prisons facilities to be determined in the near future.
This charges were the result of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hess prosecuted the case.