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Evansville; Large drug distribution network busted

(STL.News) – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today, the dismantling of a drug trafficking organization that brought large quantities of illegal drugs into southwest Indiana.  Eleven defendants were indicted by a grand jury in Evansville with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

“Drug trafficking organizations operate on greed and takes advantage of the addiction problem this community, our state and our nation faces,” said Minkler.  “This illegal activity cannot and will not be tolerated.  I am fully committed, my office is fully committed, and the federal, state, and local law enforcement partners are fully committed, to help stop the flow of narcotics into this state and this community.”

Those arrested and or are a fugitive include:

Rudolfo Ibarra-Hernandez, Aka “Rudy,”48, Mexico FUGITIVE

Juan Guzman, Aka “Hollywood,” 33, Mexico FUGITIVE

Juan Tellez, 44, Phoenix, AZ

Alexus Ortiz, 21, Clarksville, TN

Rayvin Yates, Aka “Ray,”26, Dayton, OH

Cesar Castro, 45, San Diego, CA

Jovanny Contreas-Vazquez, 30, Los Angeles, CA

Maria Castaneda-Villabolos , 33, Los Angeles, CA

Ruby Hernandez, 37, Federal Way, WA

Tania Gervacio, 30, El Cajon, CA

Angelique McCleary, 31, Carlsbad, CA

According to the indictment, beginning around January 2019, it is alleged that Ibarra-Hernandez and Guzman were the sources of supply for the drugs coming from the Mexican drug cartels to Evansville and Southwest Indiana.  Tellez, Castro, Contreas-Vazquez and Castaneda-Villabolos, Gervacio, and McCleary were utilized as drug couriers within the organization, and Yates was a mid-level distributor.  Ortiz and Ruby Hernandez were carriers of the money.

The organization used motor vehicles, commercial airlines, United States Postal Service, United Parcel Service and Federal Express to transport the methamphetamine, fentanyl and US currency to and from the southern Indiana area.

During the investigation, law enforcement recovered over 123 pounds of methamphetamine, 769 grams of fentanyl powder, 114 fentanyl pills, 500 oxycodone pills, 345 grams of heroin, and $14,346 in U.S. currency.

This case was investigated by the DEA, the Evansville Vanderburgh County Joint Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, IRS Criminal Investigations, U.S. Marshal Service, and the U.S Postal Inspection Service.

DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Michael Gannon said, “Today was a big win! Taking this much methamphetamine, fentanyl and heroin off the streets is huge.  It is important for drug traffickers to know that the DEA and our partners will use all available resources to prevent drug dealers from peddling poison into our communities.”

“The aim of these types of investigations is to remove illegal narcotics and violent drug dealers from our community and country,” said Dan McClain, US Marshal, Southern District of Indiana.  “This investigation is an example of the tremendous teamwork and comradery shown by all organizations involved from start to finish.”

According to Assistant United States Attorney Lauren M. Wheatley, who will prosecute this case for the government, the defendants face a maximum of life in federal prison, 5 years supervised release following their sentence, and up to a $10 million fine.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are considered innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.

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