Another target of Operation Crystal Lake is off the streets and headed to the Texas Department of Corrections, local prosecutors said.

Jovannie James Vega, 29, was the latest conviction stemming from Operation Crystal Lake, a five-month long investigation that targeted methamphetamine traffickers in 2017. 

On Jan. 16, Vega pleaded guilty to four counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, penalty group 1, between 4 and 200 grams. The same day, Judge Gary Steel accepted the plea and sentenced Vega to 30 years in the Texas Department of Corrections.

“Vega was a known drug dealer and a confirmed Tango Orejon gang member,” said Jennifer Tharp, criminal district attorney, in a Facebook post on Friday. “The sentence in this case sends a clear message that drug dealing in Comal County will not be tolerated.”

Vega was one of 38 arrested in the Aug. 9, 2017 roundup that led to dozens of arrests by a task force comprised of members from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Metro Narcotics Task Force, New Braunfels Police Department, CCSO, Gang Offender Narcotics Enforcement (GONE) units, Comal County District Attorney’s Office, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshal’s Lone Star Fugitive Task 


Operation Crystal Lake recovered 11½ pounds of meth; approximately 1 pound of cocaine; over 40 grams of heroin; nearly $5,000 in cash; and eight firearms and three vehicles.

In July 2019, F. Dante Sorianello, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA’s San Antonio division, said 18 of the 38 defendants had been adjudicated and sentenced to prison terms ranging from between five and 48 years in TDC facilities; two were sentenced to between six and 18 months in state jail, and five received between five and 10 years supervised adjudication.

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