Federal Agents Break Apart Major Cocaine Drug Ring (With Photos)

By WISE Web Admin
By Stephanie Parkinson

Gallery

10 photos

May 10, 2013 Updated Nov 10, 2013 at 7:56 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – The United States Attorney in Northeast Indiana announced charges against 20 people Friday and credits the arrests with dismantling a major drug trafficking operation in Northeast Indiana.

18 of the 20 have already been arrested. They all face similar charges in connection with distributing cocaine in the area.

U.S. Attorney David Capp says it’s believed that 43-year-old Manuel Herrera and his brother, 41-year-old Armando Herrera-Velasquez, led this organized operation out of a home in Waynedale.

Manuel was arrested Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada. His wife Elida was also arrested in connection with the case. However, Capp says Armando is in Mexico. He says they are working with the Mexican authorities to arrest Armando and bring him back to the United States.

Capp says the charges came down after a 14 count indictment came from a Grand Jury in Fort Wayne.

Capp believes the cocaine was coming from Mexico through Chicago. He says once the drugs were in Fort Wayne he believes this group was responsible for cutting down the drugs for sale.

What started the investigation by the Fort Wayne Safe Streets Task Force in March of 2011 was when Pedro Garcia, who is also facing charges in the case, was arrested by the Angola Police Department. 21 Alive was told by Capp, that while in custody, Garcia revealed important information. Since then court ordered wiretaps were used to gain additional information.

During a traffic stop in February is when about $100,000 in cash was discovered inside a trap door in a vehicle being driven by Manuel. Since then several search warrants were issued in the area.

"These arrests have removed a major drug trafficking organization from the streets of Fort Wayne and I want to personal thank the agents and officers who are represented here today for their tireless efforts in this investigation,” said U.S. Attorney David Capp, Northeast District of Indiana.

Capp warns others dealing drugs in Fort Wayne that his agency and law enforcement are constantly looking for them.

“We may not get you tomorrow, we may not get you next month, and frankly we may not get you next year but I guarantee you it is going to happen and when it does I guarantee you that you will feel the full weight of the federal prosecution. >

In addition to Armando, who is believed to be in Mexico, one other man, facing charges in this case, is still at large. That person is 29-year-old Darwin Altamirano of Fort Wayne.

The following 20 individuals are named in the 14 Indictments:

#1
- Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia, 25, of Fremont, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine and the selling and transfer of a firearm to a known convicted felon.
- Jose Noe Perea Casteneda, 40, of Goshen, Indiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.

#2
- (AT LARGE) Armando Herrera-Velasquez, 41, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine. Armando is still located in Mexico and the FBI is working with Mexican authorities to make the arrest.
- Manuel Herrera, 43, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and maintaining a residence for the purpose of distributing cocaine.
- Elida Herrera, 51, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and maintaining a residence for the purpose of distributing cocaine.
- Maria Patricia Herrera, 52, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.
- Efren Paniagua-Pizano, 24, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.
- Luis Tapia, 42, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and maintaining a residence for the purpose of distributing cocaine.

#3
- Armando Gonzales-Gutierrez, 43, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and use of a communication facility.

#4
- (AT LARGE) Darwin Altamirano, 29, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and use of a communication facility. Altamirano remains at large.

#5
- Juan Corona, 33, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and use of a communication facility.

#6
- Damian Dubose, 37, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine and use of a communication facility.

#7
- Leobardo Gaona, 39, of Huntertown, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and use of a communication facility.

#8
- Gelacio Marintez, 36, of Sturgis, Michigan is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and use of a communication.

#9
- Gerardo Martinez-Gaston, 42, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine and use of a communication facility.

#10
- Juan Pena, 20, of Sturgis, Michigan is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and use of a communication facility.

#11
- Guadalupe C. Luna, of Fremont, Indiana is charged with distribution of cocaine.

#12
- Cynthia L. Sanchez, 42, of Fort Wayne, Indiana is charged with distribution of cocaine.

#13
- Jerry Sell, 45, of Van Wert, Ohio is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess
with the intent to distribute cocaine and use of a communication facility.

#14
- John Bennett, 35, of Sturgis, Michigan is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and use of a communication facility.

These charges were filed as a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Fort Wayne Safe Streets Task Force, which is comprised of FBI agents and officers from the Indiana State Police, Allen County Police Department, and the Fort Wayne Police Department. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; United States Marshals Service; Angola City Police Department; Elkhart County Interdiction and Covert Enforcement Unit; IMAGE Drug Task Force; Michigan State Police; New Haven Police Department; South Bend Police Department; and the Steuben County Sheriff's Department assisted with this investigation.

On Thursday May 9, 2013, law enforcement arrested the following individuals in the Fort
Wayne area: Efren Paniagua-Pizano, Luis Tapia, Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia, Guadalupe
Carmona Luna, Armando Gonzalez – Gutierrez, Gerardo Martinez – Gaston, Juan Corona, Jose Noe Perea Casteneda, Jerry Sell, Maria Patricia Herrera, Cynthia Lynn Sanchez, Damian Dubose, Juan Pena, and Leobardo Gaona.

Arrested in Las Vegas Nevada were Manuel Herrera and Elida Herrera.

Arrested in Michigan were Gelacio Martinez and John Bennett.

On that same date, the FBI served search warrants on several residences and seized multiple vehicles to include:
1606 Saint Louis Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46819
117 E. DeWald Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46803
3026 Pennsylvania Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46803
1024 East Paulding Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46806
600 West North, Lot 13, Fremont, IN
3009 Oliver Street Fort Wayne, IN
7555 Decatur Road lot 28, Fort Wayne, IN
Blue 2012 Chevrolet Cruze
Silver 2009 Pontiac Vibe
Red 2006 Ford F-150
Black 2007 GMC Yukon
White 2009 Lincoln MKS
Black 2003 GMC Yukon
White 2008 Pontiac G6




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