Man pleads guilty to dealing meth for Mexico's Knights of Templar cartel

Man pleads guilty to dealing meth for Mexico's Knights of Templar cartel

A 45-year-old Houston man has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston announced June 16.

Juan Duque-Tinoco pleaded guilty on Jan. 31, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison on June 14 by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

According to information presented in court, beginning in March 2014, federal agents began in investigation of a drug trafficking organization that was distributing large amounts of methamphetamine from Houston to Beaumont, Texas and then throughout the United States.

Duque-Tinoco was identified as the main supplier of methamphetamine, which was confirmed to be directly supplied by sources in Mexico with the Knights of Templar Cartel. Duque-Tinoco received shipments of methamphetamine from Mexico in liquid form and then he converted it to crystal form at a location in Houston.

Undercover agents purchased a total of 75.6 grams of methamphetamine from Duque-Tinoco in March and April 2014. In August 2014, Duque-Tinoco was deported to Mexico and then arrested on Aug. 22, 2014, at the Texas-Mexico border as he tried to illegally reenter the United States.

In June 2015, Duque-Tinoco returned to the United States, but during his absence, he made arrangements for his illegal drug activity to continue using others to complete the drug transactions. After returning to the United States, Duque-Tinoco resumed selling illegal narcotics and sold 135 grams of methamphetamine, 224 grams of heroin and 13.7 grams of cocaine to undercover officers.

Later that same month, Duque-Tinoco was arrested following a traffic stop in which 1.7 kilograms of methamphetamine was recovered. During this investigation, seven court ordered wire taps were utilized and agents calculated more than 63 kilograms of methamphetamine, 18 kilograms of cocaine, 20 pounds of marijuana, and a half-pound of heroin was distributed.

This case is the result of an extensive joint investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle S. Englade.

- U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

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