If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
FELONY CHARGES FOR PEARSALL MAN
A suspected drug dealer deputies believe was targeting children in Pearsall is behind bars after a search warrant yielded over 10 pounds of marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, edibles and nearly 2,000 vape pens.
Frio County Chief Deputy Peter Salinas said the drug raid executed on Monday, July 24, revealed a narcotics trafficking operation that may have targeted children as young as 11. “This was a highly successful seizure of contraband,” the chief deputy said Monday evening. “We have found it to be heavily marketed to our community’s youth. The packaging is made to look like kid-friendly snacks that mimic real products. These specific items have been found in the possession of students as young as junior high school age and come with a felony-level offense for each case.”
Records filed at the sheriff’s office show deputies, 81st Judicial Investigator Daniel Kaufman, SAPD Officer Bishop, and Frio County Pct. 3 Constable Daniel Zapata raided the home on Devilbiss Street Monday evening. Investigators confirmed this week that the raid was carried out after officers received several tips from community members regarding suspicious traffic at the residence. The suspect in the case, 29-year-old Luis Mario Gonzales, was taken into custody on several felony drug charges. “Residents were calling, and all the tips were indicative of the illegal drug trade,” Salinas said. According to a report on the case, law enforcement officers seized a cache of illegal narcotics that Gonzales was allegedly attempting to sell. Officers searching the residence found 1,618 vape pens containing the narcotic THC, over 70 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms, 23 grams of edible THC, and approximately 10 pounds of marijuana. Investigators also found drug paraphernalia that included packaging materials, scales, a money-counting machine and over $14,000 in US currency. A loaded firearm was found in the home. Charges filed against Gonzales include possession of between five and 50 lbs. of marijuana, which carries a third-degree felony charge; second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance between four and 400 grams; and possession of over 400 grams of a controlled substance in Penalty Group 2, a first-degree felony. Investigators have reported they are in the process of pursuing asset forfeiture for the currency, vehicle and other valuables that they believe Gonzales obtained through profits from the sale of drugs.
“This is one of the larger operations we have found locally,” Salinas said. “We do believe there are more out there and we will continue to follow up on any and all information we receive in order to remove this threat and the damage it does to the members of this community.” Salinas said he encourages parents to talk to their children, as they are the most vulnerable population that drug dealers target. “Such a serious level of offense can seriously damage these students’ outlook on the future,” Salinas said. “Many students and young people have been charged as of late, and there seem to be more and more each day.”