NOV 06 ( JACKSONVILLE, Fla .) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced that U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan sentenced nine individuals this week to federal prison terms for their participation in an international drug trafficking organization. Dubbed "Operation Sooner or Later," this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation targeted international cocaine trafficking from Mexico to the Middle District of Florida. To date, Operation Sooner or Later has resulted in the indictment of 47 individuals, 41 of whom have been arrested. The 41 defendants have all been convicted. Seven defendants are still waiting to be sentenced. As a result of this investigation, $1.1 million in U.S. currency has been seized, along with more than $750,000 worth of real property, more than $200,000 worth of vehicles, and 45 firearms.
Each of the nine defendants sentenced this week previously pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. Brian Graham (33, Ocala, Florida) was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in federal prison. Agustin Santos Garcia (37, Guerrero, Mexico) was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Ernesto Avila-Carrillo (28, Jalisco, Mexico) was sentenced to 10 years and 7 months in federal prison. Huber Dominguez-Diaz (52, Guerrero, Mexico) and Irvin Ashley (36, Palatka, Florida) were each sentenced to 7 ½ years in federal prison. Demetri Laurent (35, Hahira, Georgia) and Marcus Deberry (36, Valdosta, Georgia) were each sentenced to 7 years in federal prison. Pedro Vasquez (35, Ocala, Florida) was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison. And, Pernell Singleton (29, Jacksonville, Florida) was sentenced to 3 years and 5 months in federal prison.
Operation Sooner or Later began in March 2010, in Ocala, Florida. The investigation revealed that Francisco Avila-Carrillo, who is awaiting sentencing, and Ernesto Avila-Carrillo obtained large quantities of cocaine from various sources of supply, including a network of Mexican cocaine distributors. The cocaine was then redistributed from locations in Marion County to cocaine traffickers in Ocala, Jacksonville, Tampa, and South Georgia.
During the conspiracy, Pernell Singleton, Irvin Ashley and Jason Israel (previously sentenced to 75 months in federal prison) worked together to obtain kilogram quantities of cocaine and redistribute that cocaine in Jacksonville and Palatka, Florida. On April 26, 2010, DEA agents and task force officers seized six kilograms of cocaine in Bradford County, Florida from a vehicle driven by Jason Israel.
On April 28, 2010, DEA agents and task force officers stopped two vehicles traveling north on I-75 in Columbia, County, Florida. The vehicles were occupied by Laurent, Deberry and Brian Griffin. Agents found 3.5 kilograms of cocaine in Griffin's vehicle. Griffin (previously convicted) was a driver for Laurent and Deberry. Laurent made multiple trips from Valdosta, Georgia to Ocala, Florida to obtain kilograms of cocaine from Ernesto Avila-Carrillo. That cocaine was distributed to Deberry and other cocaine dealers in South Georgia.This investigation was conducted by the DEA Gainesville Resident Office along with members of the DEA Gainesville Task Force from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Bradford County Sheriff’s Office, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, and Levy County Sheriff’s Office. This investigation was also assisted by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Ocala Police Department.