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June 3, 2013
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Major Drug Traffickers with Ties to the Sinaloa Cartel Sentenced in West Michigan
Drug dealers sold cocaine in West Michigan and Methamphetamine in Minnesota, Nunez gets 25 years in federal prison

JUNE 03 (GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) - Four men from California and five men from West Michigan have been sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in a multi-state drug conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr. announced today.  U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker sentenced the group’s leader, Lucio M. Nunez, 32, of Mecca, California, to 25 years in federal prison.

Court records show that Nunez and the California members of the conspiracy obtained 20-30 kilograms of cocaine from sources affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel and shipped it to the Michigan members of the conspiracy, who were led by Pablo G. Aguilera, 31, of Muskegon, Michigan.  The cocaine was typically hidden inside hollowed-out X-Box game consoles. The conspirators also concealed cocaine inside hidden vehicle compartments. Aguilera sold the cocaine in West Michigan and laundered the proceeds through various banks.

At the same time they were sending cocaine to Michigan, Nunez and the California members of the conspiracy distributed 20-30 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in Minnesota.  The investigation began in February 2012, when officers with the West Michigan Enforcement Team (“WEMET”), a local narcotics team, caught Aguilera with a kilogram of cocaine. They worked closely with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) to build the case against the other members of the conspiracy, who were charged in August 2012 with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and money laundering.

In total, nine members of the conspiracy pled guilty and received sentences from Judge Jonker.  They are:

· Lucio M. Nunez, 32, of Mecca, California: 300 months’ imprisonment;
· Jesus Joel Rios, aka “Chuy,” 30, of Mecca, California: 132 months’ imprisonment;
· Pablo G. Aguilera, 31, of Muskegon, Michigan, 128 months’ imprisonment;
· Tyree A. Brown, 40, of Muskegon, Michigan: 60 months’ imprisonment;
· Bradley E. Hatcher, 39, of Muskegon, Michigan: 46 months’ imprisonment;
· Adan V. Chaidez, 32, of Mecca, California: 36 months’ imprisonment;
· Victor Aguilera, 23, of Muskegon, Michigan: 30 months’ imprisonment;
· Mark Barnes, 23, of Muskegon, Michigan: 30 months’ imprisonment;
· Mario Alberto Molina-Martinez, 39, of Coachella, California: 36 months’ imprisonment.

Officers and agents from WEMET, HSI and DEA investigated this case, and received considerable assistance from the U.S. Postal Service.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Stiffler handled the prosecution.


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