DEA - Drug Enforcement Administration

06/05/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2023 14:45

Small Town Meth and Cocaine Traffickers Sent to Prison

VICTORIA, Texas - With the sentencing of two Sinton residents, nearly a dozen criminals have now been brought to justice for their respective roles in narcotics trafficking on local streets, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux of the Houston Division,and U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Jonathan "John Bear" Olbera, 37, pleaded guilty to March 8, 2022, to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, while Lisza Marie Vera, 44, entered her plea Oct. 5, 2020, to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute meth.

Today, Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey sentenced Olbera to 78 months in federal prison, while Vera was ordered to serve a 60-month-term of imprisonment. The sentences will be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.

"In a small town like Sinton, drug trafficking and gang activity endangers every resident," said Hamdani. "Worthless gangs, including a motorcycle gang, cared nothing about Sinton's children and families when they distributed cocaine and meth, even near a school and park. My hope is that these sentences send a strong message to others thinking of putting their neighbors at risk."

In 2019, local, state and federal law enforcement conducted investigations to address drug trafficking and gang activity in various small towns in San Patricio County including Sinton with a population of less than 6000.

The investigation led to the identification of the Garcia drug trafficking organization. Several individuals in that group were members and associates of various gangs including the Calaveras Outlaw motorcycle gang, Texas Syndicate, 59 Bounty Hunters and the Bloods. They operated out of a multi-family residence known as "The Compound" in the heart of Sinton located within 1000 feet of a public park and an elementary school.

Olbera and Vera were part of that group responsible for distributing cocaine and multi-kilogram amounts of meth to residents in Sinton, Odem and Aransas Pass. The organization was selling approximately one kilogram of meth every week.

The leader of the organization - Jacob Eli Garcia, 31 - previously received a sentence of 300 months in federal prison. Collectively, the total sentences imposed in this case totals approximately 1100 months in federal prison.

"The Compound" was sold at auction as a result of the criminal convictions in this case.

Olbera will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. Vera was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender at a later date.

"The success demonstrated in this case is a prime example of community and public safety partnerships working hand-in-hand for the betterment of all served," said Aransas Pass Police Department Chief Eric Blanchard. "And, this tremendous outcome would not be without our close working relationship with our federal partners."

Task force officers from Aransas Pass Police Department working with the Drug Enforcement Administration lead the investigation with the assistance of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Texas Department of Public Safety, Sinton Police Department and San Patricio Sheriff's Office conducted this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation.

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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittany Jensen prosecuted the case.