LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Anthony Mangione, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John F. Timoney, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, Michael Hammerschmidt, Chief, Coral Gables Police Department, and Lieutenant Colonel John Czernis, Acting Director, Florida Highway Patrol, announced the unsealing of an eighteen-count indictment charging nineteen individuals in connection with their roles in a powder and crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana distribution ring. Seventeen of the nineteen have already been arrested and are expected to make their initial appearances in federal court today and tomorrow.
This multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation successfully identified nineteen members of a high volume narcotics distribution ring operating throughout the South Florida area. During the course of this four-month long investigation, federal and local law enforcement officers seized multiple kilograms of powder cocaine, in addition to crack cocaine and heroin, dismantled two marijuana grow houses, and seized tens of thousands of dollars tied directly to the narcotics trade. Law enforcement agents also executed six federal search warrants.
The indictment, which was returned on September 20, 2007, charged defendants Michael Olmedo, Mario Gonzalez, a/k/a “Mike,” Serafin Robert Debesa, a/k/a “Bobby,” Ricardo Olmedo, Douglas Carmenate, a/k/a “Snow,” a/k/a “Snowpack,” Raul Lazaro Hernandez, a/k/a “Cherio,” Alina Olmedo, Bryan Olmedo, Alexandra Garcia, Ashley McLean, Manuel Villar, a/k/a “Manny,” Alberto Gonzalez, a/k/a “Huevo,” Luis Gomez, a/k/a “Lou,” Ricardo Caceres, a/k/a “Gordo,” Carlos Garcia, a/k/a “Carlitos,” Tomas Padilla, Hugo Rodriguez, Alfred Saltos, and Anna Alvarez with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute powder cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and/or marijuana plants, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. Each defendant is also charged with possession with intent to distribute powder cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).
Additionally, Michael Olmedo and Ricardo Caceres are charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1), and Michael Olmedo and Raul Hernandez are charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1). Further, Douglas Carmenate is charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and maintaining a place for the purpose of distributing a controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 856(a)(1) in connection with a marijuana grow house. If convicted, the defendants face possible sentences ranging from 20 years’ to life imprisonment.
The investigation to date has resulted in the seizure of 16 weapons, including 6 handguns and 9 shotguns/rifles, approximately 7 kilograms of cocaine, 32 grams of crack, more than 100 marijuana plants from two separate grow houses, $170,000 in U.S. currency, 15 cars and two motorcycles.
United States Attorney Acosta stated, “These prosecutions result from the cooperative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal and local law enforcement partners to help reduce drug trafficking in our streets. Together, we will work to reclaim our streets and make our communities safer.”
“These arrests demonstrate DEA’s commitment to combating organized groups that traffic drugs in our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville. “We would like to commend our local and federal law enforcement partners for their efforts, which contributed to the success of this investigation.”
“This operation illustrates the commitment of federal, state and local law enforcement, as we fight to combat gangs and violent crime in our communities,” said Julie Torres, ATF Special Agent in Charge.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the DEA, ATF, ICE, Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, Coral Gables Police Department, and Florida Highway Patrol for their work in this investigation. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean Paul Cronin.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov