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United States Attorney Announces Indictment of Major Cocaine Distribution Organization

EAST ST. LOUIS, IL. - Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois announced that a federal grand jury sitting in East St. Louis, has returned a 29 count indictment charging 23 individuals with being members of a large cocaine distribution organization. The indictment was originally suppressed, but has since been unsealed by the court.

Ivan Vazquez-Gonzalez, 26, of Chicago, Illinois, was charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE), which carries a potential minimum sentence of twenty years to a maximum of life imprisonment, a $2 million fine, and up to five years of supervised release. In addition, Vazquez-Gonzalez, along with Saul Corbian Ruelas, 43, of Chicago, Illinois; Salvador Navarro, 32, of Berwyn, Illinois; Jesus Garcia Chanocua, 37, of Granite City, Illinois; Jose Garcia, 24, of Granite City, Illinois; Luis Gonzalos Hernandez-Barahono, 22, of St. Louis, Missouri; Jessica Hernandez, 23, of Granite City, Illinois; Jose Murillo, 43, of Ferguson, Missouri; Guillerno Barbosa, 29, of St. Louis, Missouri; Oscar Valle Ortiz, 32, of Granite City, Illinois; Carmelo D. Mendoza, 43, of Collinsville, Illinois; Florentino Cruz-Amado, 24, of Chicago, Illinois; Javier Villasenor-Cardona, 28, of Placerville, California; Armando Murillo, 37, of St. Louis, Missouri; Daniel Ortiz, 27, of Granite City, Illinois; Edwin Fernando-Montejo, 24, of Collinsville, Illinois; Manuel Ramirez, 23, of Fairmont City, Illinois; Francisco Perez, 27, of Collinsville, Illinois; Victor Alberto Montalvo-Perez, 30, of Fairmont City, Illinois; Jorge Desantiago, 30, of Belleville, Illinois; Saundra Renee Seman, 43, of St. Louis, Missouri; Jose J. Ramirez-De Avila, 28, of Fairmont City, Illinois; and Francisco Sanchez, 27, of Caseyville, Illinois, were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine. The alleged conspiracy carries potential maximum penalties of ten years to life imprisonment, a $4,000,000 fine and at least five years of supervised release.

Luis Gonzalos Herndandez-Barahono, Javier Villasenor-Cardona, Jesus Garcia Chanocua, and Florentino Cruz-Amado, were each charged with one count of illegal re-entry after deportation, which carries with it a possible maximum sentence of not more than two years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and up to one year of supervised release. Ivan Vazquez-Gonzalez, Guillerno Barbosa, Armando Murillo, Edwin Fernando-Montejo, and Victor Alberto Montalvo-Perez, were each charged with a single count of entry into the United States without inspection. The possible maximum sentence for that charge is up to six months imprisonment, a $5,000 fine and up to one year of supervised release.

Some of the members of the alleged conspiracy were also charged with other additional substantive counts. Jose J. Ramirez-De Avila was charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and one count of possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine.
The cocaine offense carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, a
$1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release; the crack cocaine charge carries with it a minimum term of ten years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $4 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release. Jesus Garcia Chanocua was charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Previously Convicted Felon; Possession of a Firearm by a user of controlled substances; and possession of a firearm by an illegal alien. Each of those firearm offenses call for a sentence, following conviction, of a up to ten years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. Armando Murillo, Florentino Cruz -Amado, and Javier Villasenor-Cardona were each charged with a count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, and upon conviction, face a minimum term of ten years imprisonment, and a potential maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a $4 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release. Luis Gonzalos Hernandez-Barahono was charged with two counts, and Edwin Gernando-Montejo, Saundra Renee Seman, Oscar Valle Ortiz, and Oscar Valle Ortiz were charged with one count of Possession with the intent to distribute cocaine; and Jorge DeSantiago was charged with two counts and Daniel Ortiz with one count of Distribution of Cocaine. Each of those two counts carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release. Ivan Vazquez-Gonzalez and Luis Gonzalos Hernandez- Barahono were charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, which carries a potential maximum sentence of ten years to life imprisonment, a $4 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release. Ivan Vazquea-Gonzalez was charged with one count and Luis Gonzalos Hernandez-Barahono was charged with two counts of interstate travel in support of racketeering, which calls for a possible sentence of not more than five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

In addition to the criminal counts, the indictment contains a forfeiture allegation, which seeks the forfeiture of the $383,193 of United States currency (seized during the investigation of this case), an automobile, firearms, and drug proceeds of $9 million.

Evidence in support of the indictment was obtained in an investigation which was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF initiative is designed to bring federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and resources together to identify, target and dismantle large national and international drug trafficking organizations. Participating agencies include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Marshal Service, the Granite City Police Department, Fairmont City Police Department, Collinsville Police Department, Fairview Heights Police Department, Caseyville Police Department, Pontoon Beach Police Department, Park Hills (Missouri) Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and the Illinois State Police. This case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Randy G. Massey for prosecution.


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