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Texas barbershop chain operated drug ring that moved millions in heroin

October 5, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Texas barbershop chain operated drug ring that moved millions in heroin Adrian Gonzalez, 30, one of the ring leaders of the drug ring pleaded guilty with his father Salvador Gonzalez, 52, to heroin-trafficking conspiracy and conspiracy to launder money charges.

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Federal prosecutors say a drug ring smuggled millions of dollars worth of heroin into the Texas area using barber shops in Floresville, San Antonio, and Seguin, to deal drugs to clients at the shops and laundering the profits with other cash generated by haircuts.

The drug ring brought in a minimum of $8 million worth of heroin between 2014 and 2015, according to federal agents. the Houston Chronicle reported

Two members of the organization, 52-year-old Salvador Gonzalez and one of his children, 30-year-old Adrian Gonzalez operated the Acapulco Barber Shop chain and were amongst eight individuals charged last year in the conspiracy. The duo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and heroin trafficking conspiracy.

The barber shops were not necessarily considered “fronts” because they did cut hair, said John Convery, Adrian Gonzalez’s attorney.

He stated: “These are legitimate, hardworking enterprises that serve a community purpose when run in a legitimate way.”

Prosecutors argue that proceeds from the drug sales and haircuts were merged and utilized to purchase many businesses and properties.

Agents allege that Salvador Gonzalez headed the drug ring, while Adrian Gonzalez managed everyday operations. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for January 19th before Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia.

Convery added: “We settled the case, perhaps not for the amounts or figures that were considered by the investigators, but certainly for some significant charges and amount that we could all agree on. We’re just trying to accept responsibility and move toward a situation where we can … get back to legitimate activity of being barbers.”

Adrian Gonzalez, 30, one of the ring leaders of the drug ring pleaded guilty with his father Salvador Gonzalez, 52, to heroin-trafficking conspiracy and conspiracy to launder money charges.

Adrian Gonzalez, 30, one of the ringleaders of the drug ring pleaded guilty with his father Salvador Gonzalez, 52, to heroin trafficking conspiracy and conspiracy to launder money charges. Both owned the barber shop chain. (Photo Jerry Lara)

During the probe, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, along with the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division wiretapped the family’s phones and monitored the conversations between Salvador Gonzalez and his relatives discussing sales and heroin smuggling, said Joey Contreras, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Authorities also seized ammunition, firearms, 15 pounds of heroin, and $543,940 in cash and marked 19 properties for forfeiture. Undercover informants told agents that between 2014 to 2015, the groups transported over 250 kilos of heroin and sold each one for a minimum of $32,000.

The organization was moving so much heroin that it caught the attention of the Mexican Mafia in Texas, which forced a 10% street tax referred to as “the dime,” which the group had to pay to maintain their operations, according to Contreras.

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The Gonzalez family owns a chain of 9 barber shops and a barber college in San Antonio, Seguin, and Floresville.

As part of a plea deal for both the father and son, they consented to relinquish the firearms and cash, along with 10 of their 19 properties, which include one barber college and four shops in San Antonio, one barber shop in Floresville, and another in Seguin.

Three additional defendants, Jose Lopez Grimaldo, Raul “Boom Boom” Sanchez, and Carlos “Charlie” De La Cruz Perez have pleaded guilty to heroin trafficking.

Three co-conspirators also currently await trial including Jose “Jay” Hernandez Jimenez, Eneveida Margarita Ruvalcaba and Hector Mario Ginez.

Hector M. Ginez, right, charged with heroin smuggling and money laundering charges (Photo JERRY LARA, San Antonio Express-News)

Hector M. Ginez, right, charged with heroin smuggling and money laundering charges (Photo JERRY LARA, San Antonio Express-News)

All are facing up to life behind bars,

The DEA indicated that heroin addiction is the quickest growing drug abuse issue in the United States. Those addicted to prescription pain meds often shift to heroin when doctors cut them off, or they can no longer afford the medicine.

Moreover, heroin is much cheaper, but it is also very often mixed with substances that are fatal, leading to overdoses.

Those addicted to prescription pain meds often shift to heroin when doctors cut them off, or they can no longer afford the medicine.

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