FROM STAFF REPORTS
AUSTIN — Federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities swept through Central Texas on March 28, arresting 18 people, including a Llano man, on federal drug charges.
Another 10 people were already in custody when authorities announced the result of a year-long investigation.
Lauro Jaimes, 32, faces life in prison if convicted on a federal methamphetamine charge. According to the indictment handed down March 20 by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas, authorities said that between Oct. 1, 2017, and March 7, 2018, Jaimes and several others conspired to distribute 500 grams or more of meth.
Jaimes’s arrest was the result of a multi-agency narcotics trafficking investigation. Several of those arrested face up to four indictments, including on meth distribution, cocaine and heroin trafficking, and money laundering. Jaimes’s charge is tied to his alleged involvement in the distribution of meth.
Authorities believe two of the men charged by the federal grand jury — Luis Villagrana and Carlos Garcia-Duark — were leaders of distribution cells in Austin, according to a U.S. Department of Justice media release. Officials allege members of the organization used an Austin-area mechanic’s shop to distribute drugs to “sales and distribution points” in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Minnesota, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
The investigation involved several law enforcement agencies from a variety of jurisdictions. During the investigation, agencies seized 148 pounds of crystal meth, 56 gallons of liquid meth, 62 pounds of cocaine, 13 pounds of heroin, and $400,000 in cash.