A federal jury found two brothers guilty of drug offenses Tuesday after prosecutors charged them in connection with a Plano minor’s heroin overdose.
According to an indictment, jury verdict and court transcript obtained by Star Local Media, 32-year-old Isauro Carreto-Cruz and his brother, 29-year-old Jose Antonio Carreto, knowingly and intentionally distributed heroin and methamphetamine around the Dallas area.
The Plano Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and Drug Enforcement Administration launched investigations after Plano authorities were dispatched to a juvenile heroin overdose on Sept. 25, 2019. A Plano Police official testified during direct examination that the juvenile almost died and cooperated with investigators after first responders administered Narcan and helped the minor recover. Authorities said witness testimony identified 21-year-old Kolton Watson of Plano as the juvenile’s supplier.
“We were able to track the dealer to another subject and then from there, track him to Mr. Jose Carreto,” Erik Ahrens of the Plano Police Department said.
A Plano officer conducted a routine traffic stop on both brothers shortly thereafter while both defendants were on bond for state-level traffic offenses. Authorities reportedly found heroin and methamphetamine in the vehicle.
Authorities state that the investigation was expedited after the Plano Police Department received an anonymous threat wherein they learned that Carreto threatened to arrange a drive-by shooting at the juvenile informant’s grandparents’ house. Carreto’s attorney questioned the credibility of this threat while cross-examining Ahrens, adding that no tangible harm was caused to any cooperating witness and that authorities were unable to properly ascertain the identity or motive of the person making the threat.
Carreto-Cruz’s attorney argued that his client was hardly involved in his brother’s drug trafficking, as authorities tied him to fewer documented drug transactions. In a December 2019 detention hearing, Carreto-Cruz was granted conditional release after his attorney successfully argued that he was not a flight risk. Carreto was not granted this, however, after prosecutors cited two prior domestic assault charges in 2011 to argue that his release would pose a danger to the community.
The brothers were each found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin resulting in serious bodily injury, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute heroin resulting in serious bodily injury and aiding and abetting. Last month, Watson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin resulting in serious bodily injury and aiding and abetting.
“As long as the scourge of heroin continues to devastate lives, so too will we continue to aggressively seek out and prosecute the perpetrators,” said U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei in a Tuesday statement following the verdict. “Drug dealers should know that they’re not only on the hook for dealing drugs, but they’re also going to be held responsible for injuries or death stemming from their deadly wares. With this conviction and others like it, hopefully more lives will be saved.”
Carreto faces up to life in federal prison, while Careto-Cruz faces up to 40 years. Watson was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and three years of supervised release.