Examples of Narcotics-Related Investigations - Fiscal Year 2017
The following examples of Narcotics-Related Investigations are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted.
Indiana Man Sentenced for Drug Distribution
On Dec. 20, 2016, in South Bend, Ind., Aurelio Cervantes, of Elkhart, Ind., was sentenced to 168 months imprisonment and three years’ of supervised for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Cervantes was involved with shipping 50-150 kilograms of cocaine from Texas to Elkhart, and then sending it onto Ohio for distribution.
Six Defendants Sentenced for Money Laundering Drug Proceeds
On Dec. 14, 2016, in St. Paul, Minn., Loc Bui, of Portland Ore., was sentenced to 54 months in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. Bui was one of six defendants indicted in March 2016 and who pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and federal drug charges. The defendants shipped parcels containing over 700 pounds of marijuana from Oregon to locations throughout the U.S. and laundered more than $2.5 million in proceeds through banks. The other defendants were sentenced as follows:
• Kyle Lux was sentenced to 30 months;
• Peter Nguyen was sentenced to 21 months;
• Stevenson Tran was sentenced to 15 months;
• Thay Kah Danh was sentenced to six months in prison; and
• Quan Tran was sentenced to three years of probation.
Missouri Woman Sentenced for Narcotic-Related Money Laundering
On Nov. 30, 2016, in Springfield, Mo., Ronda L. Easton was sentenced to 252 months in prison. Easton admitted that she had been distributing large amounts of methamphetamine that she purchased from a co-defendant. Easton admitted that they used the proceeds from distributing methamphetamine to buy assets, which also concealed the source of their proceeds, including a residential property and a 2012 Ford Mustang that will be forfeited to the government.
Arkansas Resident Sentenced for Distributing Narcotics and Money Laundering
On Nov. 28, 2016, in Greenville, Tenn., Billy Ray Allen, of Widener, Ark., was sentenced to 240 months in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for distributing crack cocaine and money laundering. Allen was the leader of a drug trafficking organization, involving 10 individuals, which obtained powder cocaine in Arkansas, then transported it to Tennessee, where it was “cooked” into crack cocaine and distributed in the Tri-Cities. He also utilized the proceeds from the sale of crack cocaine to buy vehicles and real estate, all of which were placed in the names of third parties in an effort to conceal his ownership from authorities.
Two Leaders of El Monte Street Gang Sentenced for Federal Racketeering, Narcotics and Money Laundering Offenses
On Oct. 14, 2016, in Los Angeles, Calif., James “Chemo” Gutierrez, of El Monte, a member of the Mexican Mafia, and Kenneth Cofer, also of El Monte, were each sentenced to 150 months in prison. Gutierrez and Cofer pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Gutierrez admitted that he regularly received extortionate ‘tax’ payments from individuals trafficking narcotics in the neighborhoods controlled by the El Monte Flores gang. Cofer admitted he managed and supervised the extortion and drug trafficking activities and directed the use of violence on behalf of the criminal enterprise. A third gang member, John Rivera, of El Monte, was sentenced on Oct. 13, 2016 to 130 months in prison after pleading guilty in December 2015 to conspiring to violate the RICO Act and conspiring to distribute narcotics. In addition to Gutierrez, Cofer and Rivera, 31 other defendants named in the RICO indictment have pleaded guilty.