By Danie Huffman
Parker County Sheriff’s Office
Parker County Sheriff Russ Authier announced the conviction of two Florida men in a case which stemmed from a Parker County deputy’s traffic stop.
Authier said the deputy who conducted the stop is the sheriff’s office K-9 handler of Ussa (Oo’-sah), and a member of the North Texas Criminal Interdiction Unit, (NTXCIU) comprised of law enforcement officers from eight North Texas sheriff’s offices which joined forces to investigate illegal narcotics, dangerous drugs, and human trafficking cases in and around North Texas.
NTXCIU team members patrol assigned areas throughout North Texas, beyond the borders of their home-based law enforcement agency to conduct narcotics interdiction and investigate major crime cases.
The Parker County deputy assigned to the unit made an initial investigative traffic stop June 29, 2019, in the 1600-block of North Central Expressway in Plano, of a 2013 beige Nissan van which resulted in the arrest of Daniel Martinez, 55, of Seabring, Florida. The deputy also seized $150,000 in U.S. currency believed to be proceeds from the sale and distribution of illegal narcotics during the stop. Sheriff Authier said Parker County will receive a portion of the funds seized in the initial traffic stop through the process of asset forfeiture.
The case against Martinez was turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The case involving Martinez led DEA investigators to a conspiracy case against two additional suspects identified as Omar Daniel Garcia-Agostoa, 46, of Deltona, Florida; and Steven Thomas Mathis, 34, of Orlando, Florida, with ties to the Cartel Del Noreste in Mexico.
Evidence seized from more than 30 separate cases beginning in Jan. 2019 through Dec. 2019, led to the arrests of Mathis and Garcia-Agostoa. In total, the investigations seized about 30 kilograms of cocaine and more than $300,000 in U.S. currency from the combined investigations.
That evidence was presented in federal court during the trial and proved Garcia-Agostoa and Mathis were involved in the drug trafficking operation, and responsible for distributing hundreds of kilograms of cocaine throughout the United States, including the North Texas.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office stated members of the Cartel Del Noreste in Mexico supplied cocaine to the suspects and other members of the illegal distribution operation. Cocaine was further distributed to Laredo, Dallas, and Houston. Couriers then transported the multi-kilogram shipments by car to Florida and locations in New York.
A Plano jury convicted both men of various drug trafficking violations including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in the Eastern District of Texas following a week-long trial under presiding U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei, on April 16.
“Today’s guilty verdict sends a clear message to drug traffickers,” Ganjei said in the press release from his office April 16. “The Eastern District is dedicated to dismantling their organizations—from top to bottom—and disrupting the flow of illegal drugs through the State of Texas. We appreciate the hard work of the DEA as well as our state and local partners in putting this case together.”
A sentencing hearing is slated to be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office. The defendants face a minimum of 10-years and up to life in federal prison.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation, which identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Agencies also involved in the case include the U.S. DEA, Parker County Sheriff’s Office, Rockwall Police Department, Mesquite Police Department, Lewisville Police Department, Collin County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Texas Criminal Interdiction Unit.
Authier said the case is just one of numerous cases resulting from the collaboration of agencies such as the NTXCIU.
“No traffic stop is routine,” Authier said. “We are pleased with the convictions and the collaboration of this unit. Anytime we can lend a deputy to help local, state or federal agencies to aid in the investigation of drug or human trafficking cases, we will always choose to do so. ”