A number of Texas Panhandle-area residents have been arrested in a drug raid operation Tuesday morning.

“Targeting drug cartels that have infiltrated the Panhandle area and jeopardized the safety and security of our communities will continue to be a priority in this district,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney John Parker.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, those arrested are allegedly part of the Gulf Cartel, a Mexican drug trafficking organization. The investigation took two years.

Eleven defendants have been charged in one indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, were arrested Tuesday morning. They include:

  • Omar Mendoza, also known as “Big O” and “O,” 36 years old
  • Sammy Augustin Galan, also known as “Hondu,” 36 years old
  • Miguel Carrasco, 33
  • Conrad Nava, also known as “Chauncy,” 36
  • Bobby Holman, also known as “Holmes,” 37
  • Floyd Daniel Teafatiller, 32
  • Jessie Herrera, Jr., 34
  • Joey Nicholas Vallejo, 35
  • Traci Michelle Ramos, 23
  • Curtis Gonzales, 35
  • Shannon Drell Harris, also known as “Shawn,” 43

Five of these defendants are also charged with substantive felony drug offenses, and one defendant, Vongphrachanh, is also charged with a firearms offense. The two defendants listed below, also charged in the indictment, are presently in state custody.

  • Arcel Vega Martinez, also known as “Chilango,” 40
  • Thiraphong Vongphrachanh, 22

In a second indictment, 37-year-old Juan Gabriel Mejia, also known as “J,” and 36-year-old Richard Anthony Rios, also known as “Tex,” are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Rios was arrested earlier this month on a related criminal complaint. Mejia remains a fugitive, and is believed to be in Mexico.

The investigation involved undercover purchases, wiretaps, and search warrants. In total, approximately $500,000 in cash, 2.25 kilograms of cocaine, 1.75 pounds of methamphetamine, and six firearms were seized.

If convicted, the sentences for the conspiracy and substantive drug counts range from 40 years to life in federal prison and millions of dollars in fines. The maximum sentence for the firearms charge is life in federal prison.