News alert

Six Temple residents were arrested Thursday by federal and state authorities on narcotics trafficking charges in connection with a conspiracy to distribute drugs across Central Texas.

Temple residents German Zarzoza Moreno, 33; Jaime Estrada Jr., 20; Jesus Alberto Garcia Zuniga, 25; Erik Enrique Hernandez, 32; Luis Carlos Jimenez Jr., 26; and Ezequiel Orozco, 29, were in federal custody in Waco Thursday. Raul Montes, 47, of Galena Park near Houston, was also arrested.

“Under the direction of Moreno and Montes, the defendants allegedly distributed cocaine and methamphetamine in the Temple area since May 2018,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Waco.

The arrests stem from a coordinated search/arrest operation in the Temple and Houston areas that resulted in the seizure of about 2,853 grams of cocaine, 8.4 grams of ecstasy and 31.9 grams of marijuana, officials said.

Authorities also seized a .45 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol, a false battery compartment, a kilogram press and other items used in the distribution and transportation of drugs, the release said.

Moreno, Montes and Estrada are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and one count of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, the release said.

Zuniga and Hernandez are charged in the cocaine conspiracy count while Jimenez and Orozco are charged in the methamphetamine count.

If convicted of the methamphetamine conspiracy count, suspects would face between 10 years and life in a federal prison.

Those who are convicted of the cocaine conspiracy count would face between five and 40 years in federal prison.

The investigation was one of two coordinated by federal and state authorities. Eight Waco area residents were also charged conspiracy to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine in Central Texas.

The U.S Marshals Service assisted in the arrests.

Detention hearings will he held next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Manske in Waco.

Prosecutors for the case are Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Blanton and Stephanie Smith-Burris.