A month-long investigation into narcotics being funneled to San Jacinto County jail inmates led to a raid Wednesday morning of a property at 720 Lee Ave. off of FM 2025 in Cleveland. Four people were arrested, including one Hispanic male who now is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Capt. Joe Schultea Jr., spokesperson for the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office.
“We understand there is some type of connection to a Mexican drug cartel,” Schultea said.
The investigation began a little over a month ago after illegal narcotics were delivered and concealed on the grounds of the courthouse. The drugs were then picked up by a trustee who had arranged the drug drop and distributed to other trustees, Schultea said. At no time, however, did the drugs ever make their way inside the jail.
The sheriff’s office, which oversees the jail, began surveillance of the primary suspect in the jail, finally determining the code the trustee was using to order drugs from the outside parties. The investigation led authorities to a compound in the Oak Forest community off of Lee Ave., an area considered to be Cleveland that falls inside of San Jacinto County.
“There was enough information for us to get a warrant from Judge Ernie McClendon,” Schultea said. “Because of the intelligence we had on this particular location, we ran the warrant Wednesday morning around 4:30 a.m. with the sheriff’s offices from Harris and Montgomery counties.”
When authorities raided the home Wednesday morning, they found six adults and two children living in the home. Four of the adults were the wanted subjects. Two are under investigation but were released at the scene. The two children were referred to Children’s Protective Services but were sent to live with an aunt in Houston, Schultea said.
All four of the suspects arrested are charged with Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance, a second-degree felony, and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, a first-degree felony.
Those charged include Monica Rodriguez-Tovar, 43; Reymundo Casas, 17; Samantha Casas, 21; and Jose Angel Maronon Sr., 57. They are all being held at the San Jacinto County Jail. Of the four, Maronon also is being detained by immigration officials.
“We believe we found the main nexus of this investigation, but the investigation is still under way at this time,” said Schultea, adding that the four subjects may also be charged with animal cruelty.
At the home, authorities seized 80 or so fighting game roosters, seven dogs that were chained to trees, a horse and a number of hens and chicks.
“Animal control is working with the Houston SPCA to seize the animals. The dogs are in bad shape,” Schultea said.
No charges have been filed against the trustees at this time.
By Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com