Houston Man Sentenced to Over 18 Years in Federal Prison for Cocaine Distribution

Houston Man Sentenced to Over 18 Years in Federal Prison for Cocaine Distribution

Francisco Rene Luna, a 44-year-old man from Houston, has been sentenced for his role in a long-running cocaine distribution scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Luna pleaded guilty on April 11, 2022, and U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen has now ordered him to serve 216 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. During the sentencing hearing, the court identified Luna as a leader and organizer of the drug trafficking conspiracy, operating three locations in Houston to store drugs and profits. Luna’s involvement also included direct participation in the importation of drugs.

According to Luna’s admission, he led a drug trafficking organization in Houston, overseeing the monthly receipt of cocaine smuggled in vehicles over the course of eight years, with the Gulf Cartel supplying the drugs. The distributed cocaine reached various parts of the United States.

In December 2015, law enforcement seized 176 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of methamphetamine, and $3.5 million in drug proceeds during searches of stash houses controlled by the organization in Houston.

Following the seizures, Luna became a fugitive for four years until his arrest in Monterrey, Mexico, in June 2019, as part of a joint operation between Mexican and American law enforcement agencies. Luna’s arrest led to his extradition to Houston for prosecution.

Even during his time as a fugitive, Luna continued to oversee his drug operations from Mexico. Fifteen individuals have been convicted in connection with the conspiracy thus far.

Luna will remain in custody until he is transferred to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, the location of which will be determined soon.

U.S. Attorney Hamdani remarked, “The Gulf Cartel is one of the most violent and brutal drug trafficking organizations, posing a threat to the citizens of both the United States and Mexico. Luna, a trusted associate of this criminal enterprise, participated in the importation of thousands of kilograms of dangerous drugs into our country for sale in our communities. Today’s sentence reflects our commitment to dismantling destructive drug trafficking organizations, wherever they are.”

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Houston Police Department.