Narcotics bust leads to one death, one arrest


GONZALES – Daniel Ramirez, 30, remained in custody in the Gonzales County jail Monday on attempted capital murder charges after a shootout with Gonzales County deputies last week that left another suspect dead.

Gonzales County Sheriff Glen Sachtleben reported that at 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, deputies were conducting an active, ongoing narcotics investigation when one of the men suddenly opened fire on them.

He said the incident, which occurred in northern Gonzales County on County Road 44B just north of Waelder, left deputies no choice but to return fire, killing 21-year-old Jose Luis Millan in the process. Sachtleben said the shootout took place in a remote pasture in which marijuana was being grown.

“On [that night], six Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office deputies were doing surveillance on an established marijuana grow in northern Gonzales County,” Sachtleben said. “There were also two additional officers posted a little distance away to provide support and assistance should such become necessary.”

Using night-vision equipment, the officers observed two individuals approaching the stakeout location. At approximately 8:45 p.m., one of the individuals entered the growth patch near where the officers were located.

“When the officers identified themselves as sheriff’s office deputies, one of the individuals opened fire on the deputies,” Sachtleben said. “That individual, identified as [Millan], is now deceased and the second individual, Ramirez, remains in custody, charged with attempted capital murder.”

The night of September 25 was the culmination of an extended investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and other agencies. Early in the summer, a landowner notified Constable Raleigh Measom that there was something happening on his property and his investigation revealed the marijuana growth.

Deciding that he did not have manpower enough to successfully handle a case like this, he contacted Sachtleben. They in turn worked together and set up surveillance, using resources within their offices and contacting other agencies to include the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas National Guard and several federal agencies.

“Because of the tremendous pressure on all state resources from border security operations, most assistance from that level was hit and miss at best,” Sachtleben said. “Federal resources are usually predicated on the involvement of the State in some form or another, hence it finally fell upon the local officers to work the operation as best they could with resources at hand.”

In the end, it was the sheriff’s office, Constable Measom’s office with some additional assistance from Constables Ken Hedrick and John Moreno, local DPS along with a tremendous amount of support and work by Gonzales Police Chief Tim Crow and the Gonzales police department that brought the entire project to fruition.

“This grow is significant as being one of the largest, if not the largest grow ever found, in Gonzales County,” Sachtleben said. “It consisted of an estimated 4,000 plus plants at its peak. The entire grow was cut down as evidence, with most of the work being done by Chief Crow and his officers, and secured with the assistance of the city of Gonzales.

“The unfortunate shooting of one of the violators is being investigated by the Texas Rangers as the Sheriff’s Office does not investigate itself,” Sachtleben said. “That information will be turned over the local prosecutor’s office for attention as appropriate.

“The remainder of the case, including the marijuana and the second violator, will be turned over the federal prosecutor’s office through the Bureau of Justice, division of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” he said. “The entire operation hinged upon interagency cooperation and would illustrate the highest degree of coordinated law enforcement resource management for an extended period of time.”