prison

PLANO, Texas — A 48-year-old Zapata, Texas, man has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for drug trafficking crimes in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox today.

Jose Ernesto-Medrano pleaded guilty on Sep. 10, 2019, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant on Dec. 9, 2020.

According to information presented in court, beginning in 2017, law enforcement officers received information that Medrano, a multi-convicted felon and member of the Texas Syndicate prison gang, was conducting drug trafficking transactions in the Plano, Texas area. Law enforcement ultimately determined that Medrano was a leader in a large-scale drug trafficking conspiracy, which distributed methamphetamine throughout the Austin and Plano areas. Medrano agreed he was responsible for distributing 4.5 kilograms of pure methamphetamine.

Medrano and four co-defendants were indicted on Jan. 9, 2019. Erik Brown was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison on Feb. 25, 2020. Martin Ysassi and Priscilla Zamora were each sentenced to 180 months on March 3, 2020. Sanjuanita Benavides is awaiting sentencing.

This is a Texas Anti-Gang (TAG) Center investigation involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Texas Department of Public Safety. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Batson.

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