| Crime |

The Rise and Fall of a North Texas Meth Ring

In court documents, he is referred to as "Ruben." We don't know his real name, and we don't know if he was the first to make contact with the now-27-year-old Gerardo Cisneros, aka "Tatuado" or, simply, "Jerry." But we do know that in November 2012, Ruben made a call to Cisneros about "tickets."

Cisneros was just building a meth distribution center in DFW. According to court documents, he had turned eight kilograms into $23,000. Ruben must have been impressed, because he told Cisneros that 22 kilograms of meth, or about 50 pounds, were being prepared for him to distribute.

Shortly after distributing it, Cisneros received another phone call. He was to go to a Valero parking lot, where a silver Volkswagon Jetta with Mexico plates was waiting for "73 tickets," or $73,000 in drug money, to be transported to Mexico. Cisneros said he'd be there in three or four minutes. From there, things took off.

It was a family affair: Cisneros' mother and his sister helped out. Meth came up from Mexico, through San Antonio, and found its way to Dallas. Cisneros used carriers to deliver the cash back to Mexico. He also placed the money in several bank accounts, including with Chase and Wells Fargo, that could be withdrawn down there. With the money he was making, Cisneros bought five vehicles, including a black Camaro and a black Mercedes, and a house in Arlington, the feds say.

He and his associates called their meth "cream." Adiel Fuentes, one of Cisneros' main collaborators, listed out the prices for a buyer once: $300 for an ounce, $2,800 for a quarter pound, $9,500 for a pound. He called one pound a "whole bow of yellow." (Update: As several commenters have mentioned, there's some bad math going on with the prices for meth here. I don't know how the dealers arrived at those numbers, but the court documents show those are the prices Fuentes gave for meth in a particular instance.)

In April 2013, Cisneros gave a man named Omar Herrera-Garcia about 23 pounds of meth and told him to hide it. Herrera-Garcia knew it was an illegal substance, but he didn't immediately realize it was cream. He stashed it in a place owned by another man, Francisco Ruiz, in Farmersville, a small town about an hour northeast of Dallas. The court documents don't say what the relationship between Herrera-Garcia and Ruiz was, but Ruiz eventually found what was being stored there. He made it clear: I don't want any trouble; your secret's safe with me.

In early August, Cisneros' mom drove about seven pounds of meth through a Border Patrol checkpoint. She was arrested. A little over a week later, DEA special agents arrested her son. Cisneros' sister is on the run.

All in all, 24 were charged in the distribution ring. According to the press release, 21 pleaded guilty, two are awaiting trial and one's case was dismissed. Wednesday, Cisneros was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Ruben, whoever he is, slipped away.

Email your story tips to the author, Sky Chadde.

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