Leader of San Angelo Drug Trafficking Operation Pleads Guilty Friday in Federal Court
The leader of a drug trafficking operation in San Angelo has pleaded guilty in federal court.
27-year-old Rodney Pena Mendez pleaded guilty Friday in Lubbock to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Rodney Mendez, along with seven other defendants from San Angelo, were charged in a 15-count indictment, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 50 kilograms or more of marijuana.
Authorities began investigating the narcotics trafficking activities of Rodney Mendez in August 2008. He recruited friends and family members to help facilitate the operation as well. A confidential informant or undercover officer purchased meth from another defendant, and surveillance heavily linked that person to Mendez.
During a January 2010 traffic stop, Rodney Mendez was the passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. A narcotics detection dog alerted to the odor of marijuana, and during a search, authorities found around 29 pounds of marijuana hidden in the vehicle’s roof liner.
Another search, this time at the residence of 45-year-old Henry Pena Mendez, Rodney Mendez’s brother, yielded nearly 316 grams of methamphetamine at 2.77 pounds of marijuana. Investigators found that Rodney Mendez had supplied his brother with the illicit drugs.
Rodney Mendez, also known as “Pee Wee”, faces a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison, a $2 million fine and a lifetime of supervised release.