4 La Quarenta gang members plead guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Four La Quarenta gang members pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute meth, heroin and cocaine.

The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Corpus Christi, Texas; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations; and Corpus Christi Police Department’s Gang Unit.

Fernando Martinez, 44, Corpus Christi, pleaded guilty today to the conspiracy which spanned from Sept. 6, 2020, to Aug. 26, 2021. Three others – Jayden Wandell Coleman, 18, Carlos Acosta, 38, and Ricky Reyna, 34, all of Corpus Christi – previously admitted to the their roles in the conspiracy. All are identified members of the La Quarenta gang.

The investigation began in September 2020. It revealed the narcotics trafficking organization used a Corpus Christi residence on Cortez Street to distribute meth, heroin, crack and marijuana. Authorities observed Reyna, Martinez, Acosta and Coleman entering and exiting the drug stash house as various times and directing people to the residence.

Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement observed a high amount of foot traffic approach and enter the residence, stay for a few minutes and then exit the area. Traffic stops resulted in the seizure of narcotics they had obtained from the drug stash house.

Authorities also executed search warrants at four residences and a storage yard in August 2021. They ultimately found a total of over five kilograms of cocaine, over four kilograms of meth, more than two kilograms of heroin; nearly 200 grams of crack and 13 kilograms of marijuana and over a hundred thousand dollars, digital scales, a drug ledger, and loaded firearms and ammunition.

The investigation further revealed the four men were in communication with each other regarding the purchase and sale of various narcotics for the duration of the conspiracy.

U.S. District Judge David S. Morales for will impose sentencing April 20. At that time, the four men face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a possible $10 million maximum fine.

All four will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Marin and John Marck are prosecuting the case.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI agents investigate a wide array of transnational crime, including terrorism; narcotics smuggling; child exploitation; human smuggling and trafficking; illegal exports of controlled technology and weapons; money laundering; financial fraud and scams; labor exploitation; cybercrime; intellectual property theft and trade fraud; identity and benefit fraud; and human rights violations and war crimes.