Buna men, Houston woman guilty of federal drug trafficking

Two Buna men and a Houston woman pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking crimes in the Eastern District of Texas.

James Joseph Fabela, 41, Benjamin Jason Fabela, 35, both of Buna, and Darian Michelle Simmons, 25, of Houston, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine on Nov. 15 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn. Simmons also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money. 

According to information presented in court, from as early as July 2016, the defendants have been involved in a drug trafficking enterprise trafficking methamphetamine in the Buna area. James Fabela and Benjamin Fabela have supervised, managed and controlled the drug trafficking organization with personal knowledge of the distribution of methamphetamine. In total, the organization sold nearly 200 grams of methamphetamine in the Southeast Texas area. Their plea agreements include the forfeiture of a home in Buna. Simmons arranged for couriers to transport and conceal drugs and money to and from Houston for further distribution in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.  Simmons is responsible for distributing at least 1.028 kilograms of methamphetamine.

The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 5, 2018.

Under federal statutes, the defendants face from 10 years to life in prison for the drug conspiracy charge. Simmons also faces up to up to 20 years for money laundering conspiracy violations.