Meadville Tribune

November 2, 2012

Texas twins plead guilty in massive drug case

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — Two Texas brothers charged this summer by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office with coordinating the transportation and distribution of as much as 20 pounds of marijuana a month into northwestern Pennsylvania have entered guilty pleas in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas.

Marcelino Rodriguez, 29, of Eddy, and Miguel Rodriguez, 29, of Corpus Christi, each pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon before Judge John Spataro to one count each of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and criminal use of a communication device.

The pleas in the case were in connection with the trafficking of more than 10 pounds of marijuana, Doug Wright, the senior deputy attorney general prosecuting the case, told Spataro.

The Rodriguez brothers are among nine people charged by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Pennsylvania State Police involved in the shipment of drugs to Pennsylvania and the transfer of money back to Texas. Authorities allege Miguel Rodriguez operated from Texas, speaking with his brother Marcelino and others by telephone to arrange drug shipments to Pennsylvania and transfer money back to Texas.

Authorities allege the Rodriguez brothers were assisted by Robert Karl Conaway, 29, in the distribution of marijuana in and around Crawford County. In August 2010, Marcelino Rodriguez and Conaway were arrested in Crawford County on unrelated warrants, but the two allegedly attempted to continue operating their drug organization from inside the county jail, according to authorities.

Rodriguez and Conaway made numerous telephone calls while inside the Crawford County jail, which were recorded for monitoring by law enforcement, according to court records.

With their guilty pleas, Marcelino Rodriguez now faces up to 12 years in prison and $30,000 in fines when sentenced Dec. 14 in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas while Miguel Rodriguez faces up 17 years in prison and $45,000 in fines when sentenced.



Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

Meadville Tribune

Four other suspects in the Texas Twins marijuana case are scheduled to go to trial in January in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas, while two others already have pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and one other person’s case is listed as inactive.

Adam Wood, 25, Venango, is scheduled to go to trial on charges of two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 fines; one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of delivery of a controlled substance, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Wood is accused of assisting in the distribution of marijuana, including the retrieval of drugs and cash from a vehicle that had been left in the parking lot of a motel in Meadville when Robert Conaway and Marcelino Rodriguez were arrested in 2010.

In phone calls recorded at the Crawford County jail, Conaway, Rodriguez and Wood allegedly discussed the status of drug sales, including the fact Wood had six pounds of marijuana remaining and that Miguel Rodriguez still was owed $4,000. They also allegedly reviewed the correct prices that should be charged for different quantities of the drug.

Wood remains jailed in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Elizabeth Ann Bevilheimer, 25, Saegertown, is charged with one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Bevilheimer, who was the girlfriend of Adam Wood, assisted in the recovery of the car that Conaway and Marcelino Rodriguez were driving when they were arrested in August 2010, according to authorities. Bevilheimer also allegedly was involved in at least eight wire transfers of money to Texas, totaling more than $15,000, and was overheard in recorded prison phone calls complaining that she was not getting enough money for the work she was performing.

She was released on nominal bond, but is being held in the Crawford County jail on other  unrelated charges.

Jeramie John Ebbert, 25, of Meadville, is scheduled to go to trial in county court in January on one count of delivery of marijuana, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Ebbert is accused by authorities of being the recipient of marijuana shipments from Texas and assisting with the sale of drugs to street-level buyers. Heis free on $25,000 unsecured bond.

Silas Mark Deets, 61, of Venango, is scheduled to go to trial on one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine and one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Authorities allege Deets was paid to receive shipments of marijuana from Texas which were arranged by Conaway. One of the deliveries to Deets, containing approximately 4.5 kilos of marijuana, was intercepted by U.S. postal inspectors. Deets allegedly was paid with cash and drugs to pick up the packages, according to authorities.

Deets is free on $15,000 unsecured bond.

Conaway, whose address is listed as unknown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, both first-degree felonies each punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 fines; three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, all felonies which are each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; two counts of possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine; one count of criminal conspiracy, an ungraded felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; one count of criminal use of a communications facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

His case is listed as inactive in court records. Calls to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for clarification weren’t returned as of the Tribune’s deadline.

The two others remaining in the case pleaded guilty in mid-October in Crawford County Court.

Pamela Barrientos, 25, Eddy, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy and faces up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine when she is sentenced Nov. 30.

Barrientos acted as a distributor of funds for the organization — receiving thousands of dollars in wire transfers and then speaking by phone with Marcelino Rodriguez about how much money different participants should be making from the drug transactions, according to authorities.

Laura Rodriguez, 30, of Chilton, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal conspiracy and faces up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine when sentenced Nov. 30. A sister to Marcelino and Miguel Rodriguez, Laura Rodriguez assisted in the transfer of drug funds. She was heard on intercepted prison telephone calls with Marcelino Rodriguez discussing the sale price of marijuana being sold in Pennsylvania, New York and Georgia.

Both Barrientos and Rodriguez remain lodged in the Crawford County jail in lieu of $200,000 bond each.