A third defendant pleaded guilty and was convicted for his role in last summer’s marijuana filed growing operations in Smith County and the surrounding area.
Erick Cruz-Olemedo, 31, of Guerrero, Mexico, was sentenced to two years in theTexas Department of Criminal Justice on Thursday.
Cruz-Olemedo was arrested on Sept. 16, 2016, during a raid on a marijuana field where approximately 4,000 plants were growing near the intersection of County Road 26 and County Road 244 in eastern Smith County.
Two other defendants in the case pleaded guilty and were convicted of criminal conspiracy to commit possession of marijuana over 50 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds. Another man remains in the Smith County jail awaiting his trial later this month.
The men were charged after an extensive multi-agency law enforcement investigation traced more than a dozen illegal marijuana grows in the region to the Los Zetas cartel.
The investigation led to the discovery of 15 marijuana cultivation sites spanning at least nine East Texas counties including Smith. Federal State and local law enforcement agencies partnered in the investigation, which lasted from July 2015 to December 2016.
Ranferi Ramirez-Duarte, 27, of Tyler and Regulo Ramirez-Duarte, 22, of Tyler pleaded guilty and were convicted for their roles in the criminal conspiracy to commit possession of marijuana over 50 pounds, but under 2,000 pounds.
Ranferi Ramirez-Duarte was sentenced to two years in the exas Department of Criminal Justice on July 24, according to Smith County judicial records.
Regulo Ramirez-Duarte was sentenced to threeyears in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on July 10, according to