Jury selected in federal drug trafficking case

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Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday afternoon following jury selection in the federal drug trafficking trial of a New Boston, Texas, man.

Armando Moya, 47, is charged in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas with conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and fentanyl and with carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. Moya turned down an offer from the government to accept a term of just over 26 years. If convicted, he now faces a 35-year minimum.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker told the jury in his opening statement that the case against Armando Moya began with his brother, Jose Moya. Jose Moya became a target of a DEA task force investigation that led to a traffic stop in Jim Wells County, Texas, on June 6, 2018. Jose Moya was driving a rental car with two female passengers.

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Nine bundles were found stuffed in the women’s leggings under long skirts. The bundles contained heroin and fentanyl, Locker said.

Information acquired following the arrest of Jose Moya led the DEA to Armando Moya in New Boston. Armando Moya’s home was searched in the early hours of June 7, 2018. Boxes containing nearly $200,000 in cash and a Raven Arms semi-automatic pistol were found in the house.

Armando Moya allegedly confessed that night to participating in drug trafficking and allowed investigators to search his phone. Using information from the cell phone, investigators were able to track Armando Moya’s travels to multiple states including Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee and New York. Locker said that Armando Moya is responsible for trafficking more than 100 kilograms of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl worth millions.

Armando Moya’s attorney, Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana, asked the jury to remember that his client is presumed innocent and to listen to all the evidence.

U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III instructed the jury to return Wednesday morning to continue hearing testimony at the federal courthouse in downtown Texarkana.

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