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Seven Charged with Drug Trafficking as Part of Nationwide Enforcement Targeting Mexican Cartels

DEC 06  (ST. LOUIS) The Drug Enforcement Administration today announced the results of “Project Below the Beltway”, a two-year series of investigations targeting the Sinaloa and Juarez Cartels and violent street gangs as part of on-going initiative against the cartels and their distribution network in America.  The series of federal, state, and local investigations began in May 2010 and culminated on December 6, 2012. Seven individuals have been charged locally in the Eastern District of Missouri. Six of those charged are now in federal custody.

The seven individuals charged are as follows: Luz Angelica Carrillo, of Kansas City; Craig Molitor, of St. Louis; Eric Wessler of St. Louis; Gerald Dement, of Kansas City; Peter Coyle, of Kansas City; Jason Knox, of St. Louis; and Kellen Lincoln, of St. Louis. Charges include possession of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute, and money laundering. “DEA and its partners continue our sustained attack on drug trafficking networks that operate in the St. Louis region, nationally, and globally,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge James Shroba. “We will continue to target these criminal networks who wreak havoc on local communities and neighborhoods.”

Nationally, Project Below the Beltway is comprised of 19 active DEA Special Operations Division cases, including 411 investigations in 76 U. S. cities and 11 foreign cities within Central America, Europe, Mexico, South America and elsewhere, this initiative has resulted in over 3,000 arrests, and the seizure of significant amounts of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, $135 million in U.S. currency, and $38 million in other assets to date.
In addition to the federal investigations, Project Below the Beltway also consisted of numerous state and local investigations that targeted the Sinaloa and Juarez Cartels and associated drug trafficking organizations.  The Sinaloa and Juarez Cartels are responsible for bringing multi-ton quantities of narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana from Mexico into the United States.  These cartels are also believed to be responsible for laundering millions of dollars in criminal proceeds from illegal drug trafficking activities. Individuals indicted in the cases are charged with a variety of crimes, including: various felony provisions of the Controlled Substances Act; conspiracy to import controlled substances; money laundering; firearms violations and other related offenses. 42 U.S. Judicial Districts were part of Project Below the Beltway.

The DEA Special Operations Division (SOD) coordinated Project Below the Beltway and the efforts of the DEA, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection, United States Marshals Service, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, and numerous state and local law enforcement entities.

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