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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2002

Four California Men Enter Guilty Pleas To Heroin Trafficking Charges

Four California men have pled guilty to trafficking large quantities of black tar heroin from California to St. Louis, Missouri. RAYMUNDO AGUILAR-SANCHEZ, 40; JOSE LUIS SERRANO, 30; EDUARDO SERRANO, 36;AND FRANCISCO JAVIER SERRANO, 32; pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of one kilogram of black tar heroin. They entered their pleas today after two days of trial, before United States District Judge Jean C. Hamilton in St. Louis, Missouri.

Each defendant faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Sentencing has been set for March 28, 2003.

According to court documents, between winter of 1997 and September 2001, JOSE LUIS SERRANO led a heroin trafficking organization that was responsible for transporting 15-30 kilograms of black tar heroin from California to St. Louis for distribution. RAYMUNDO AGUILAR-SANCHEZ served as principal supplier of the heroin and EDUARDO SERRANO and FRANCISCO SERRANO both served as facilitators for the organization. Regular shipments of heroin were shipped from Mexico to the Los Angeles area. The SERRANO's who resided in the Los Angeles area, shipped the black tar heroin to St. Louis.

These defendants were arrested by agents working with the Organized Crime Drug Task Force (OCDETF), in a nationwide round-up of numerous drug dealers involved in heroin trafficking during OPERATION BLACK ICE. OCDETF is a congressionally funded drug task force which was created to combine and focus the resources of nine federal agencies and state and local agencies to identify, investigate and prosecute members of high level drug trafficking enterprises. According to DEA Special Agent in Charge Michele Leonhart, this operation was originated by the Los Angeles DEA Office and was worked in coordination with DEA in St. Louis. These drug traffickers were also operating in Texas, Utah and Arizona.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact Special Agent Jose Martinez, DEA Public Affairs, at 213-621-6714.

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