Twenty-four people in Milwaukee charged with heroin and cocaine trafficking and firearms offenses

 

Date: February 26, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Federal charges against 24 defendants associated with a violent drug trafficking organization in Milwaukee known as the Buffum Meinecke Boys.

The defendants charged in this law enforcement action all reside in Milwaukee and are:

  • Ramone Locke
  • Jesus Puentes
  • Michael Smith
  • Victor Gonzalez
  • Garrell Hughes
  • Lamar Johnson
  • Rico Smith
  • Michael Wilson
  • Amir Locke
  • Joey Vazquez       
  • Coury Agee
  • Louis Bates
  • Tyrone Bryant
  • Dennis King
  • Derrell Taylor
  • Luis Lorenzo        
  • Nicholas Weldon
  • Deon Butts      
  • Maureno Briggs
  • Dawan Turner
  • Jasmaine Linton
  • Alfonso Greer
  • Juiquin Pinkard
  • Charles McCollum

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging fifteen of the defendants with conspiring to distribute 1 kilogram or more of heroin, at least five kilograms or more of powder cocaine, at least 280 grams or more of "crack" cocaine, and greater than 50 kilograms of marijuana. If convicted of this conspiracy charge, those 15 defendants face a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison. One of the co-conspirators, Victor Gonzalez, was also charged with unlawful possession of 37 firearms. Nine other defendants were charged with distribution of heroin or cocaine or illegally possessing firearms.     

On February 25, 2020, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 17 of these defendants in a coordinated enforcement operation. Throughout the course of the investigation, officers recovered over 900 grams of heroin, over 150 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 20 kilograms of marijuana, almost $300,000 in U.S. currency, and 53 firearms.

The defendants were charged based on joint investigation by law enforcement officers from the IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Southeastern Wisconsin Gang Task Force, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura S. Kwaterski and Kevin C. Knight.

Multiple law enforcement agencies participated in the arrests and execution of search warrants yesterday, including Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI's Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Gang Task Force, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, Racine Police Department, Racine County Sheriff's Office, Mt. Pleasant Police Department, FBI's Central Wisconsin Narcotics Task Force, Marathon County Sheriff's Office, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Wausau Police Department, Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, FBI's South Central Wisconsin Regional Gang Task Force, Madison Police Department, Dane County Sheriff's Office, FBI Chicago Field Office, FBI Minneapolis Field Office, FBI's Critical Incident Response Group – HRT, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshal's Service, St. Francis Police Department, Cudahy Police Department, West Allis Police Department, Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Department of Homeland Security, North Central HIDTA

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods' strategy brings together all levels of law enforcement and community resources to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life in all our neighborhoods.

The public is cautioned that an indictment or criminal complaint is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.