Starting at around 5:30 a.m. today, the Austin Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement descended upon South Austin Mexican restaurant Jovita's and two nearby houses owned by the restaurant's proprietors, ultimately arresting fifteen people who "face federal charges in connection with an Austin-based heroin distribution ring." Via the Statesman:
According to the indictment, the defendants conspired since May 2011 to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin. Upon conviction, each defendant faces between ten years and life in federal prison.Jovita's owner Amado "Mayo" Pardo, the Austin Chronicle's 2009 "Best Mayor Of South Austin" was among the arrests, and his property--the two houses and Jovita's itself--were seized by law enforcement. A press conference is scheduled for later today--we'll update as more information comes out.
In the meantime, KVUE has video of the raid's aftermath.
Video:APD, FBI raid South Austin restaurant, nearby houses
Update: According to KVUE, officials have now arrested eighteen people in connection to the ring, at least three of which are said to be part of the Texas Syndicate prison gang. Police "seized more than $1.5 million in assets, taking $38,000 Thursday in drugs, money, guns and real estate."
· APD, FBI raid South Austin restaurant, nearby houses [KVUE]
· Jovita's [Official]
· 15 arrested on federal heroin charges [Statesman]