News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2006

Twelve Indicted in $2.8 Million Heroin Conspiracy

AUG 24 --KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: Preston L. Grubbs, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division Office, and Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a dozen co-defendants from Lee’s Summit and St. Louis, Missouri, as well as Kansas, California, and Texas have been indicted by a federal grand jury in a multi-million dollar conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Charged in the seven-count indictment are: Bryant L. Griffin-Bey , also known as Vincent Warren, 42, Aleceia C. Griffin-Bey, also known as Aleceia C. Thompson, 36, Marvin C. Lockett, 50, and Valencia Lockett, also known as Vera or Valencia Staley, 42, all of Lee’s Summit, Missouri; Judy L. Jenkins, 43, Dereck Watts, 48, Warren Allen, 43, and Cornell Smith, 43, all of St. Louis, Missouri; Juan L. Soriano Vargas, 35, of Moreno Valley, California; Andre Watson, 41, of Topeka, Kansas; Hector Ruiz-De La Rosa, also known as Enrique Cardona, 32, a citizen of Mexico with no known address; and Norberto Soriano, 36, of El Paso, Texas.

“This organization, in addition to trafficking in Mexican black tar heroin, was involved in various other criminal activities, all of which will be impacted by the indictment of this group. This investigation is the result of an extensive investigation involving nearly unprecedented cooperation between several state, local and federal agencies,” stated Donald W. Mendrala, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Kansas City District Office.

"This indictment is part of an extensive investigation into a large-scale conspiracy responsible for trafficking multi-kilo quantities of heroin," Schlozman said. "This black tar heroin, a potent form of heroin had a street value of millions of dollars.

"Along with our law enforcement partners, we are committed to dismantling the pipeline of dangerous and illegal drugs smuggled into our neighborhoods."

Bryant and Aleceia Griffin-Bey allegedly invested some of the proceeds of the heroin trafficking operation in real estate, Schlozman added. The federal indictment contains a forfeiture allegation for 16 parcels of real estate in Lee’s Summit, Kansas City and Lone Jack, Missouri. In addition to the heroin conspiracy, they are also charged with money laundering related to a series of financial transactions involving the proceeds of alleged drug trafficking.

"The prosecution of illegal money laundering schemes of this nature is critical to the enforcement of our nation’s drug laws," said James D. Vickery, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

"IRS-CI has the financial investigators and expertise that is critical in locating and seizing the proceeds of narcotics crimes and prosecuting the offenders."

Count One of the federal indictment alleges that all 12 co-defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin between August 10, 2001, and August 10, 2006.

Count Two of the federal indictment alleges that Bryant Griffin-Bey, Jenkins, and Marvin and Valencia Lockett, aiding and abetting each other and others, possessed with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin on October 4, 2005.

Count Three of the federal indictment alleges that Bryant Griffin-Bey, aiding and abetting others, attempted to possess with the intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin on November 4, 2005.

Count Four of the federal indictment alleges that Bryant Griffin-Bey and Watson, aiding and abetting each other and others, possessed with the intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin on December 2, 2005.

Count Five of the federal indictment alleges that Bryant and Aleceia Griffin-Bey, Vargas, Ruiz-De La Rosa and Jenkins, aiding and abetting each other and others, possessed with the intent to distribute one kilogram of heroin on December 3, 2005.

Count Six of the federal indictment alleges that Bryant Griffin-Bey, aiding and abetting others, possessed with the intent to distribute one kilogram of heroin on June 11, 2006.

Count Seven of the federal indictment alleges that Bryant and Aleceia Griffin-Bey participated in a money laundering conspiracy between August 10, 2001, and August 10, 2006. According to the indictment, they attempted to conduct financial transactions involving the proceeds of the unlawful distribution of heroin in order to conceal the nature and ownership of the proceeds.

The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Bryant and Aleceia Griffin-Bey to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offenses, or that was derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $2,832,800 constituting the proceeds of heroin trafficking, as well as four properties in Lee’s Summit, Missouri,11 properties in Kansas City, Missouri, one property in Lone Jack, Missouri, a 2002 Mercedes Benz S 500V and a 2005 Cadillac Escalade.

Schlozman cautioned that the charges contained in the indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United State Attorney Catherine A. Connelly. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Requests for additional information should be directed to Assistant Special Agent in Charge Donald W. Mendrala at 913-825-4100.