CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 29-year-old Corpus Christi resident has been ordered to federal prison for his role in a large drug conspiracy involving heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and meth, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Joe Daniel Davila pleaded guilty July 23, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ordered Davila to serve 120 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that detailed Davila’s role as a distributor of narcotics at various drug houses located within Corpus Christi and Robstown.
Davila was selling the narcotics at drug premises aka “trap houses” which the Texas “Mexikan” Mafia (TMM) operated. Many of these homes were equipped with electronic security systems and had doors reinforced with braces to make possible law enforcement entry difficult. Authorities also found firearms in some of these “trap houses.” Davila would oversee the selling of drugs at some of these houses and make sure the profits of the sales would go to the leadership of TMM.
The investigation began in Robstown in 2015. Law enforcement was eventually able to discover the TMM was operating these houses in both Robstown and Corpus Christi and maintaining the premises as one of their sources of income.
The TMM has a constitution that governs the enterprise which states that 10% percent of the profits from any member’s business or interest shall be contributed to the organization. TMM collects this fee, referred to as “the dime,” from members, prospective members and sympathizers. These individuals also earn their income by trafficking in illegal drugs on their own which TMM then distributes – to include heroin, meth and cocaine.
Nine others have been convicted as part of the overall conspiracy.
Robert Martinez Hinojosa, 63, Alice; and Matthew John Sayles, 42, Raul Benavides, 48, Juan Lebrado Pena, 31, and Gilberto Saldana Jr., 41, all of Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty to violating the Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute. Hinojosa received 268 months, while Sayles, Benavides, Pena and Saldana received respective sentences of 90, 108, 210 and 271 months.
Four others were convicted of conspiring to distribute narcotics – Sergio Pena, 26, Danny Ray Martinez, 32, and Serenity McCracken, 44, all of Corpus Christi; and Raul Valdez, 47, San Antonio. Pena and Martinez each received 120 month-prison terms, while McCracken is serving 36 months. Valdez is pending sentencing.
All have been and remain in custody. Davila is pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S Marshals Service; IRS – Criminal Investigation; Texas Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation known as Operation Charco Trece. Also providing assistance were sheriff’s offices in Nueces and Victoria Counties and police departments in Corpus Christi, Ingleside, Aransas Pass, Robstown and Portland.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brittany L. Jensen and Michael Hess prosecuted the case.
OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.