News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2006
Contact: Sheldon J. Sperling, United States Attorney
Rob Wallace, Assistant United States Attorney

Operation 700 Ranch Round-Up

MUSKOGEE , OKLAHOMA – Sheldon J. Sperling , United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, announced today that ELIJAH SALAZAR, age 25, of Gainesville, Texas, was sentenced to one hundred sixty-eight (168) months imprisonment, sixty (60) months supervised release, and $100.00 special assessment fee.

“In July SALAZAR pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribute methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine powder,” recalled U.S. Attorney Sperling.

“SALAZAR was one of nine federal defendants indicted in the Eastern District of Oklahoma as a result of the March 2006 arrests on drug related charges in South Central Oklahoma and Northern Texas . There were fifteen Federal Indictments for Conspiracy and Distribution of methamphetamine, and eighty-seven State of Oklahoma and State of Texas Indictments for additional drug charges.”

“This sentencing brings a massive cooperative law enforcement and prosecution effort to a remarkably successful conclusion,” U.S. Attorney Sperling concluded.

“This task force began when Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) supervisors committed resources to an ambitious undertaking,” U.S. Attorney Sperling continued. “OSBI agents did doubletime on this enterprise, while performing many other duties for an unfunded mandate to investigate internet sexual predators of children.”

“OSBI agents did the legwork to parlay information from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, District 20 District Attorney’s Office Task Force, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Ardmore Oklahoma Police Department, Carter County Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Texas Police Department, Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Chicago Illinois Police Department, Denton County Texas Sheriff’s Office, Denton Texas Police Department, United States Marshal Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs. This interstate enterprise operated from Oklahoma and Texas and was connected to a violent Chicago street gang known as Satan’s Disciples.”

“Over 100 drug defendants were successfully prosecuted by state and federal prosecutors. District Attorney Craig Ladd handled the lion’s share of the state defendants. U.S. Attorney Matt Orwig tackled a significant number of federal defendants in the Eastern District of Texas,” reflected U.S. Attorney Sperling.

“You have to see an assembly of 200 local, county, state and federal agents who gather in the middle of the night to serve more than 100 arrest warrants, in order to fully grasp the magnitude of this operation,” U.S. Attorney Sperling noted.

“Assistant United States Attorney Rob Wallace led the troops on the ground. We are gratified that arrestees were safely apprehended and law enforcement officers returned home without injury or incident.”

“Chief U.S. District Judge James H. Payne presided over today’s sentencing in Muskogee . Assistant United States Attorney Rob Wallace represented the government. “

“ROCKY SALAZAR, CODY JOE SHELL, MATTHEW JOHN HORN, ISRAEL HERNANDEZ, CODY ALLEN PIERCE, IRAN LEWIS ROLON, SARA CATHERINE BRULE, and DANIEL RAY GRAYSON were indicted with SALAZAR. All defendants pled guilty and have been or are awaiting sentencing, except GRAYSON, who was found guilty by a jury after nearly three days of trial in October and awaits sentencing.”