35 Years for Second Drug and Weapons Conviction
Amarillo, TX - An Amarillo man has been sentenced to 35 years and five months in federal prison for gun and drug crimes, announced today by Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division, which is responsible for the Amarillo area.
In April, a federal jury in Amarillo convicted Jeffrey Rene Lopez, 52, of two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes, and one count of felon in possession of firearms.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mr. Lopez was dealing meth out of two residences in Amarillo.
“The arrest and conviction of Mr. Lopez has undoubtedly made our Amarillo safer,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Dallas Field Division, which is responsible for the Amarillo area. “This is a clear example of the marriage of drugs and guns and something that the men and women of DEA Amarillo and our law enforcement partners will tirelessly work to destroy.”
On October 19, 2020, law enforcement recorded a confidential informant calling Mr. Lopez to schedule a $1,000, two-ounce meth buy. Two days later, equipped with an audio/video recording device, the CI knocked at the door of Mr. Lopez’s residence.
Once inside, the CI watched Mr. Lopez pull out a large bag of crystal meth and scoop about an ounce into smaller plastic baggie. When the CI said the substance looked “shaky” (low quality), Mr. Lopez promised to get the second ounce from another location. Mr. Lopez retrieved additional meth from his brother’s residence and handed it off to the CI at a local laundromat.
About a month later, the CI informed law enforcement that Mr. Lopez was traveling back from California with a load of methamphetamine. DEA agents spotted him on Interstate Highway 40 near Amarillo, and called in Texas DPS troopers to place him under arrest pursuant to a warrant. When law enforcement searched his vehicle, they found two bundles of meth hidden inside a spare tire in the trunk. Agents also searched two residences in Amarillo, where they found a total of nine guns: seven pistols, an AR-15 style rifle, and a .22 rifle with an extended magazine.
In an interview a short while later, Mr. Lopez confessed to possession of both the guns and the drugs, stating that he got the meth from a source in California who had previously “ripped him off.”
Due to his prior felony convictions, Mr. Lopez was prohibited by law from possessing – including buying, borrowing, carrying, storing, or shooting – firearms. His prior convictions include three counts of possession of a controlled substance for sale, two counts of transportation of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, two counts of felon in possession of a firearm, and obliterated firearm violation, all in California.
“This defendant smuggled drugs across state lines to distribute to Texans struggling with addiction, using firearms in furtherance of his crimes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “Amarillo is safer today because he is behind bars. And I expect he will spend his decades in prison regretting his choices.”
The DEA Dallas Field Division - Amarillo Resident Office conducted the investigation with assistance from the Amarillo Police Department, the Randall County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the ATF Dallas Field Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Haag and Meredith Pinkham prosecuted the case with the help of Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Marie Bell.