By Will Wright
During the early morning hours of Aug. 9, 2017, a special task force conducted search warrants and made dozens of arrests in New Braunfels, Canyon Lake and other parts of Comal County.
It was the successful culmination to Operation Crystal Lake, a five-month long investigation targeting methamphetamine traffickers. The roundup resulted in 38 arrests and recovered 11½ pounds of meth; approximately 1 pound of cocaine, over 40 grams of heroin; nearly $5,000 in cash; eight firearms and three vehicles.
Eighteen of the 38 defendants arrested in connection with Operation Crystal Lake have been adjudicated and sentenced. Thirteen received terms ranging from between five and 48 years in the Texas Department of Corrections; two more were sentenced to between six and 18 months in state jail. Five were sentenced to between five and 10 years supervised adjudication.
“The successful prosecution of the defendants arrested in Operation Crystal Lake demonstrates the effectiveness of law enforcement when partnerships are formed between agencies and prosecutors to investigate those individuals engaged in drug trafficking, and violent crime,” said F. Dante Sorianello, assistant special agent in charge of the San Antonio district of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The task force was comprised of agents, officials and prosecutors from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Comal County Metro Narcotics Task Force, New Braunfels Police Department, Comal County Sheriff’s Office, New Braunfels/Comal County Gang Offender Narcotics Enforcement Unit, Comal County District Attorney’s Office, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshal’s Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.
“Let this be a warning to those who would violate the law that our partnerships and friendships at the local, state and federal levels remain, and together we will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who would harm our communities,” Sorianello added.
Remaining defendants are pending prosecution, and officials with the Comal County District Attorney’s Office say they will continue to diligently pursue those cases.
“Comal County law enforcement continues to aggressively interdict and disrupt the trafficking and use of illegal drugs in this community,” said Jennifer Tharp, criminal district attorney.
Operation Crystal Lake sentences
• Mirna Abbott, Sentenced to 48 years in TDC
• Michael Greene, Sentenced to 35 years in TDC.
• Brian Wilkerson, Sentenced to 30 years in TDC.
• Donald Shelton, Sentenced to 10 years in TDC. Additional trials pending.
• Joseph Bossman, Sentenced to 10 years in TDC.
• Robert Radke, Sentenced to 10 years in TDC.
• Pauline Flores, Sentenced to 10 years TDC
• Danielle Thetford, Sentenced to 9 years in TDC.
• Robert Shipman, Sentenced to 8 years TDC.
• John Mohler, Sentenced to 7 years in TDC.
• Alain Conaster, Sentenced to 5 years in TDC.
• Virginia Fuentes, Sentenced to 18 months State Jail Division, TDC.
• Raymond Nunley, Sentenced to 180 days State Jail Division, TDC.
• Shaena Kennedy, Sentenced to 10 years Community Supervision.
• Marissa Escobedo, Sentenced to 10 years Community Supervision
• Ryan Cardenas, Sentenced to 5 years Community Supervision.
• Crystal King, Sentenced to 10 years Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision.
• Patricia Hunter, Sentenced to 5 years Deferred Adjudication Community Supervision.