By Jen Kastner
ODESSA- NewsWest 9 has learned that Thursday night's federal take down outside of a Chili's in Odessa was actually part of an undercover operation that the Drug Enforcement Administration was conducting.
The operation landed both Reyes Vasquez and Mario Moreno behind bars. They're currently locked up inside of the Midland County Jail.
In the parking lot outside of the Chili's, DEA agents in plain clothes caught the men, who were dealing narcotics.
"They were cocaine dealers and, in short, it was an undercover operation and they admitted [to] undercover operatives and [so] they were placed under arrest after delivering the cocaine," Midland DEA Agent Dante Sorianello, said.
Approximately a quarter kilo of cocaine was seized.
One of the guys was cuffed immediately. The other, however, took off. A witness in Chili's says customers were told to stay inside. Agents called local law enforcement to help hunt for the one who fled.
"With the assistance of the Odessa Police Department, the Department of Public Safety helicopter and the Ector County Sheriff's Office, we were able to apprehend that individual who was [found] hiding in [a] rural area," Sorianello said.
That rural area was actually a field out in East Odessa.
The DEA tells NewsWest 9 that Vasquez and Moreno were distributing cocaine locally in neighboring counties. Interestingly, the DEA says cocaine distribution has actually been changing recently in the Basin. Purity levels are dropping because it's not as readily available right now. That's good news for the DEA but they say there's no way to tell how long that'll last.
Vasquez and Moreno will be arraigned next week in federal court.