Updates on Operation Legend at press conference in Milwaukee

 

Date: September 22, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

At a press conference in Milwaukee today updates on Operation Legend were announced. The announcement included charges against 26 defendants who allegedly operated a violent drug trafficking organization in Milwaukee, with ties to the Northern and Central Districts of California.

Since Operation Legend's launch in July 2020, more than 3,500 arrests—including approximately 200 for homicide—have been made; more than 1000 firearms have been seized; and nearly 19 kilos of heroin, more than 11 kilos of fentanyl (enough to deliver more than five million fatal doses), more than 94 kilos of methamphetamine, nearly 14 kilos of cocaine, and more than $6.5 million in drug proceeds have been seized.

Of the more than 3,500 individuals arrested, approximately 815 have been charged with federal offenses. More than 440 of those defendants have been charged with firearms offenses, while more than 300 have been charged with drug-related crimes. The remaining defendants have been charged with various offenses.

In Milwaukee, 47 defendants have been charged with federal crimes as part of Operation Legend:

  • 24 defendants have been charged with narcotics-related offenses
  • 19 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses
  • 4 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes

As part of Operation Legend, in a criminal complaint unsealed today, 26 defendants have been charged with offenses related to a violent drug-trafficking organization that obtained multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine and marijuana from California for distribution in the Milwaukee area. As alleged, after distributing the drugs in the Milwaukee area, certain defendants shipped drug proceeds through the U.S. Postal Service to co-conspirators in California. Multiple defendants possessed and brandished firearms during the course of the drug trafficking conspiracy.

Included among the defendants is Louis R. Perez III, also known as "Eight Ball," who is alleged to be a Mexican Posse gang member and the current leader of the nationwide drug trafficking organization. Several other Mexican Posse gang members have also been charged and arrested, including Manuel Soto and Antonio Rodriguez, who both allegedly distributed controlled substances in the Milwaukee area. Two California-based defendants, Julian Sanchez and Miguel Sarabia, are alleged to have supplied the drugs for distribution from California.

On September 22, 2020, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed arrest and search warrants related to this operation. Twenty-one of the defendants are now in custody. Law enforcement officers also executed over two dozen search warrants in Wisconsin and California, resulting in the recovery of at least 33 firearms, including a stolen Milwaukee Police Department firearm and a firearm with an obliterated serial number. As part of the operation, law enforcement also recovered over 700 grams of heroin from one location, as well as additional heroin, cocaine, and marijuana from other locations. Law enforcement also recovered approximately $170,000 in U.S. currency.

The following defendants are charged in the complaint:

Name Residence
Louis Rey Perez III  Milwaukee, WI
Xina Yang Milwaukee, WI
Julian Sanchez Costa Mesa, CA
Miguel Sarabia Norwalk, CA
Gabriel Matteson  La Mirada, CA
Louis Rey Perez, Jr. Milwaukee, WI
Manuel Soto  Milwaukee, WI
Hauseng Yang  Milwaukee, WI
Antonio Rodriguez Milwaukee, WI
Hector Arenas Milwaukee, WI
Luis F. Gomez, Jr.  Milwaukee, WI
Ivan J. Galan Milwaukee, WI
Jose A. Alvarado Milwaukee, WI
Esteban Reyes Milwaukee, WI
Kevin Taylor Milwaukee, WI
Ma Yang Milwaukee, WI
Mary Yang Milwaukee, WI
Jasmine L. Perez Milwaukee, WI
Michael Bub Milwaukee, Wi
Chong Yang Milwaukee, Wi
Michele M. Hart Milwaukee, Wi
Mercedes Herbert Gonzalez Milwaukee, Wi
Azia Yang Milwaukee, Wi
Carina Rodriguez  Milwaukee, Wi
Ger Yang Milwaukee, Wi
Shayla A. Knueppel Milwaukee, WI

All defendants are charged in a conspiracy to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine or 1000 kilograms of marijuana. If convicted, the defendants face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life in prison. Certain defendants are also charged in a conspiracy to launder money. The penalties for that offense include up to 20 years in prison. Certain defendants are charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. If convicted of those firearms charges, the defendants face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and up to life in prison.

The defendants were charged based on a long-term investigation led by law enforcement agents and officers from the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office, the Milwaukee Police Department, and the Greenfield Police Department. Law enforcement resources allocated by Operation Legend contributed to the investigation and today's enforcement operation. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Monfils and Assistant United States Attorney Gail Hoffman are prosecuting the case.

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