COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A federal grand jury has charged 18 people related to conspiracies to distribute heroin, launder money and run a fake immigration identification business.
Thirteen people were arrested in central Ohio Tuesday. Another five are being sought in California.
According to the 16-count indictment, Diego Ernesto Castaneda-Garcia was allegedly the leader of a drug trafficking organization that received imported heroin from Mexico, repackaged it into user quantities and sold it to heroin users in and around Central Ohio.
Prosecutors said the defendants arranged for workers to be smuggled into the country to be brought to Ohio to distribute heroin.
The suspects allegedly packaged heroin into foil balls called “fechas” – which roughly translates to “coins” in English – containing 1/10th of a gram of narcotics. Heroin was sold to users in public parking lots by “runners” who charged $100 for a group of 15 coins.
Prosecutors said one of the suspects would act as a dispatcher, taking calls and coordinating runners. Others would rent apartments for runners and purchase cars. Others would make fake identification for the workers, including drivers licenses, green cards and social security cards.
Money was wired from several stores in Columbus to Nayarit, Mexico.
“Special Agents with HSI and our local, state and federal partners have once again taken down a sophisticated international drug trafficking operation, suspected of untold harm in our community,” said Vance Callander, special agent in charge of HSI for Michigan and Ohio. “This organization went to great lengths to conceal their activities from law enforcement. However, today’s arrests demonstrate that HSI and our partners will be unyielding in our efforts to take down those who seek to profit from poisoning our community.”
Those charged include:
|Name||Also Known As|
|Victor Daniel Torres-Lopez|
|Diego Ernesto Castaneda-Garcia||Neto, Mariachi, El Musican, Jorge Alonso Casillas-Guillen, Jose Alberto Carbajal, Sergio Castaneda-Garcia, Jose Salas Carbajal, Oscar Silva-Santiago|
|Angel Moises Castaneda-Garcia||Moi, Moises|
|Jose Narciso Acuna-Zepeda||Chucky|
|Javier Eduardo Acuna-Zepeda||Lalo, Guaranieve, Huijolo|
|Omar Fernando Chavez-Andrade||Contador|
|Julia Martinez-Alvarez||Sandra Rodriguez-Rosa, Sandra Yvette Rodrigruez-Rosa, Julie Martinez-Albarado, Lusero Gonzales, Lori Michelle Willet, Emma Gonzalez|
|Jennifer Esmeralda Rodriguez-Martinez|
|Tonie Michelle Rondrekia Scott|
|Michael P. Uccello|
|Delander Edward Moore, Jr.|
|Luis Enrique Diaz-Castillo|
|Chaz A. Holland|
|Tesla M Yant|
|Juan Manuel Alfaro-Alvarez||Manuel|
|Adriana Gabriela Salazar-Martinez|
|Maria Esther Rosario||Maria Jorge, Dember O. Hernandez, Pablo Tadeo Salgado, Maria Gabriela Ramos Martinez|