INDIANAPOLIS, IN. – Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, announced today that Gerald Fuqua, 31, of Evansville, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by United States District Chief Judge Richard L. Young. The sentencing followed Fuqua’s earlier guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.
Federal and local authorities joined in an investigation of Fuqua and his paramour, Beth Ranes. The investigation culminated with two traffic stops in Evansville on January 3, 2011. During the stops, police officers seized approximately 20 ounces of cocaine and $6,000 cash from Fuqua, Ranes and one of Fuqua’s drug customers.
Law enforcement officers later executed a search warrant for Fuqua and Ranes’ 536 Caranza Court residence. During the search officers found more than 2.2 pounds of powder cocaine, one ounce of crack cocaine and six pounds of marijuana. Officers also seized a number of vehicles from the residence, as well as approximately $44,000 cash from a safety deposit box kept by Fuqua and Ranes at a local bank.
The criminal Information filed in federal court naming Fuqua and Ranes as defendants alleged that Ranes used the purchase of their residence and deposits into the safety deposit box as a means with which to launder the proceeds of the couple’s drug distribution business. Ranes is currently scheduled for a guilty plea hearing on July 28, 2011, before Judge Young.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew P. Brookman, who prosecuted the case for the government, Judge Young ordered the forfeiture of approximately $55,100 cash, two firearms and a vehicle seized from Fuqua during the course of the investigation. Judge Young also imposed a period of four years supervised release upon Fuqua following release from prison.
The case was the result of an investigation by the Evansville Vanderburgh County Joint Drug Task Force, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations Division.