Multiple Rings Recently Uncovered and What They Mean for Criminal Law in Texas
Unfortunately, crime rings are a common phenomenon in the U.S., and they can be found in unexpected places. We have recently seen a bevy of crime rings uncovered in the Texas area, one of which seems to have been a drug ring of suburban moms and dads.
It all began when neighbors in the Highland Park area of Dallas began to regard Gary Collin Bussell as a nuisance. He was aggressive at community meetings and threw loud parties in common areas. What was most concerning was the people who would come and go from the townhome at all hours carrying thick manila envelopes and brown paper bags.
The DEA, FBI, and the Dallas Police had executed a search warrant at his home, confiscating two Glock handguns, a shotgun, and evidence that he used the residence to store tens of thousands of dollars in real and counterfeit cash and counterfeit prescription pills. In October of 2019, U.S. Marshals made the arrest.
Following the same paper trail, several other arrests were made. There was a house on Stanford Avenue in University Park where an arrest was made, as well as an arrest of a former Plano SWAT sniper and father of two. In total, eleven were arrested and charged. In the end, it was uncovered to be a drug ring of suburban moms and dads.
The charges filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas allege that Bussell and the organization had sold at least 6 kilograms of synthetic opioid fentanyl and 5.7 kilograms of methamphetamine over an 18-month period. Other drugs that were involved include marijuana by the pound, prescription opioids, and other substances. The drugs linked to the Bussell organization played a role in the shooting death of a Highland Park teenager.
Arrest Made for Sex Trafficking, Racketeering, and Conspiracy Ring
For those of us who live and care about the Dallas area, this is disheartening news, but it is not the only crime ring that has been uncovered in recent times. In the Northern District of Texas, Wilhan Martono was indicted on one count of promotion, prostitution, as well as reckless disregard of sex trafficking, one count of interstate racketeering conspiracy, nine counts of interstate transportation in aid of racketeering, and 17 counts of money laundering. Martono was arrested on June 17 in Fremont, California by Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Secret Service. The North Texas Trafficking Task Force conducted the investigation led by Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Office.
Arrest Made for Cartel Boss Charged in $10M drug scheme
The last ring we will be looking into is the ring that was conducted by a Mexican cartel boss known in Dallas as “The Rock.” In addition to the powerful and violent drug operator, 27 other conspirators were involved in this $10 million money laundering scheme that was allegedly run through a Dallas western-wear retailer. Jose Valdovinos Jimenez, a territory boss called “La Roca,” conspired with his co-defendants to smuggle methamphetamine and heroin into the U.S., where the drugs were sold.
At that point, the proceeds were allegedly laundered and transferred back to the leaders of the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, or CJNG. CJNG’s sophisticated trafficking ring included drug smuggling couriers, fortified stash houses, a multilevel dealer network, and recrystallization labs where drugs were purified before the sale. Of course, this is a serious crime, and Jimenez and Valerio face life in prison if convicted.
Link Between Drug Rings and Sex Trafficking
With all of the crime rings recently being uncovered in Texas, it prompts onlookers to ask how these crime rings are formed and what kinds of crimes are performed simultaneously. On a basic level, organized crime is a continuing criminal enterprise that works to profit from illicit activities that are often in public demand. Two illegal activities that are high in public demand are drugs and sex, so it makes sense that criminal activity would be riddled with these issues.
The primary link between various types of criminal rings is that the goal is to make money. In addition to that, members gain a sense of pride, power, and protection. Typically, groups have a pyramid power structure similar to legal businesses. Organized crime has a boss, advisors who work closely with the boss and who are in charge of assigning tasks to various crews, captains who run different crews, and soldiers who carry out the work on the ground. These soldiers also tend to act out tasks like collecting money, performing violent acts, and other various tasks.
Another commonality between various types of organized crime groups is that the members tend to be very committed. They go through initiation rituals, take oaths, and swear to secrecy. There are also punishments for those who stray from the organization or betray it, and the consequences can be quite serious.
What Are the Legal Consequences of Being Involved in a Crime Ring?
The legal consequences of being involved with organized crime, on the other hand, can be just as serious. Soliciting membership in a criminal street gang is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to ten years and a $10,000 fine on the first offense. A subsequent solicitation offense would be a second-degree felony punishable by two to twenty years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
As you can see, there are many different crimes that those involved in criminal rings can be charged with, so the legal punishments can vary widely, but they tend to be lengthy. When faced with lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines, it helps to work with a criminal defense attorney with ample experience. Peter Barrett brings over 25 years of experience to the table, and he has represented individuals in more than 3000 criminal cases since 1994. When it comes to any kind of crime, especially organized crime, there is a great deal of nuance involved. Peter Barrett is an expert at identifying that nuance and making sure the court sees the case in the most favorable light.
To learn more about crime rings in Texas, how various types of crimes intersect, and why Peter Barrett is a top-rated lawyer in the state of Texas, give our office a call at (214) 307-8667 or contact us online.