Hector Ruiz, 30, of Houston, was given his sentence by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for his role in a multistate drug trafficking conspiracy tied to a Mexican drug cartel, according to a Jan. 20 news release.
“This sentence is a great example of what can be accomplished when federal and local law enforcement agencies work in collaboration,” HSI Washington Acting Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon said in the release. “We will continue our efforts to arrest and disrupt illegal narcotics trafficking activities like this one in order to keep our communities safe from the harmful effects of illicit drugs.”
HSI opened its investigation into Ruiz in June 2019, when special agents seized five commercial truck batteries containing prohibited narcotics in Brownsville, Texas, the release reported. HSI Richmond and HSI Brownsville identified the shipment's intended recipient as a Mexican citizen who was unlawfully residing in Richmond.
Special agents arrested Ruiz following a traffic stop, according to the release. A later search of his residence led to HSI positively identifying him as the shipment's coordinator.
Further investigation revealed Ruiz was supplying narcotics to a Henrico-based drug kingpin familiar to law enforcement, and was laundering proceeds through his business in Mexico for a known drug trafficking organization, the release reported. Ruiz fled the U.S. for Mexico following his arrest in 2019, but returned in June 2021, residing in Chicago before returning to Houston in March.
HSI Richmond obtained a federal criminal complaint against Ruiz and arrested him without incident in Houston alongside HSI Houston, according to the release.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Ruiz for conspiracy to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and money laundering charges in April. Ruiz pleaded guilty to all charges in June, the release reported.