HOUSTON – Three men have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Esteban Lopez Hernandez, 41, illegally resided in Katy and pleaded guilty in June 2021 as did two others – Robert Gomez, 28, Missouri City, and Longino Jaimes-Solorzano, 23, also illegally residing in Katy.
Today, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes found Hernandez to be a leader in the conspiracy and ordered him to serve a 235-month term of imprisonment. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence detailing that their drug trafficking organization specialized in distributing black heroin. In handing down the prison terms, Judge Hughes noted the extreme negative impact of the drug on the community after hearing that since the group was placed in custody there is almost no black tar heroin circulating in the Katy area.
Gomez and Jaimes-Solarzano were previously sentenced to 10 years in prison. Not U.S. citizens, Hernandez and Jaimes-Solarzano are expected to face removal proceeding following their terms of imprisonment.
All three men were involved in drug trafficking organization that specialized in black tar heroin for approximately two years. Hernandez was found to be the leader, while Gomez and Jaimes-Solarzano served as drug couriers.
The drug had a major impact on the Katy area in 2017. A rash of several young drug-related overdoses had links to specific dealers in the Katy area. Authorities were ultimately able to identify the source of supply for the dealers and uncover other details of the organization. The investigation revealed the organization deployed multiple stash houses and used several couriers.
All have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, Harris County Precinct 5 Constable’s Office and Fort Bend Sheriff’s Office conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation dubbed Operation Shadow Theory with the assistance of IRS – Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Office of Inspector General and the Katy and Houston Police Departments. OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found on the Department of Justice’s OCDETF webpage.