crime and punishment

Heroin ring connected to Jovita's: FBI arrests 15, including Tex-Mex hangout co-owner

Heroin ring connected to Jovita's: FBI arrests 15, including Tex-Mex hangout co-owner

Austin Photo Set: News_Caitlin Ryan_jovitas_drugs
Courtesy of Courtesy of Austin-American Statesman

Who knew so many restaurant and bar owners were harboring such secrets in Austin? None can forget the swift dismantling of the coke-peddling Yassine Enterprises empire.

Similarly, reports are slowly trickling into the mainstream media regarding another drug-ring bust. This time, several suspects are thought to have hidden behind the understated, laid back Tex-Mex hangout, Jovita's.

This morning, eyebrows were raised as FBI and APD searched two homes near Jovita's but no official statements were released. At 12:40 p.m., the Statesman released this update:

Fifteen people have been arrested and face federal charges in connection with an Austin-based heroin distribution ring, including Amado “Mayo” Pardo, one of the owners and founders of Jovita’s Mexican restaurant on South First Street.

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

All 15 defendants are charged by a federal grand jury indictment, returned on Tuesday and unsealed today, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of heroin. 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.

The indictment also seeks the criminal forfeiture of the interests of Amado Pardo, and his wife Amanda, in four Austin properties allegedly used to facilitate the drug distribution operation, namely 404 and 406 Milton Street as well as 1615 and 1619 South First Street.

Austin police officials will make an announcement regarding the case by end of day. Better move any planned happy hours elsewhere.