Leader of Midwest drug ring found guilty of drug conspiracy and money laundering charges


Date: November 9, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

SIOUX FALLS — United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced that Ray Noel Camacho, aka "Pato," from Nebraska, but currently serving a 31 to 64-year prison sentence for terroristic threats and use of a firearm to commit a felony, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit money laundering, as a result of a federal jury trial in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on November 3, 2022.

The charges, due to sentencing guidelines in Camacho's case, carry a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in custody and/or a $10 million fine, life of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Camacho was indicted by a federal grand jury in August of 2021.

Ray Camacho, aka "Pato," was the leader of a large drug trafficking organization based in the Sioux Falls area, which was responsible for the distribution of at least 120 pounds of methamphetamine. This consisted of approximately 70 lbs. of methamphetamine seized in South Dakota alone. In May of 2019, one traffic stop led to a search and seizure of 50 pounds of methamphetamine, which was stored within a spare tire and hidden compartments within the vehicle.

Mr. Camacho arranged and strategically orchestrated multi-pound deliveries of methamphetamine from Mexico, and payment for said deliveries, through three-way phone calls made from the South Dakota State Penitentiary. Said calls were recorded by the prison and used as key evidence in his trial. Camacho recruited numerous co-conspirators to aid him in his organization, which included current and former inmates and individuals known to them from the outside community. Camacho is the last of 22 defendants involved in this drug trafficking organization to be found guilty.

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation, and Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Hodges and Paige Petersen prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date has not yet been set. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.