Federal Jury Finds Man Guilty For Role In Large Marijuana Distribution Ring
MINNEAPOLIS—Last week in federal court, a trial jury found a 38-year-old St. Paul man guilty for his role in a large marijuana distribution ring. Cesar Sevilla-Acosta was specifically convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Sevilla-Acosta was charged in a superseding indictment along with 27 co-defendants on October 18, 2010.
Yesterday, three more defendants allegedly associated with this marijuana distribution ring were arrested here in Minnesota. Jesus Rodriguez-Rodriguez, age 28, residence unknown, Patricia Toriz, age 46, and Hector Alonso Renteria-Torres, age 33, both of St. Paul, made their initial appearances in federal court in St. Paul yesterday. On November 20, 2012, they were indicted in the Western District of Texas along with 15 co-defendants.
Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) praised the efforts of the agents, officers, and prosecutors who worked diligently to obtain a conviction in the case against Sevilla-Acosta: "This conviction, along with the recent arrests of additional members of the organization is an indication of the perseverance and determination put forth by the case agents, prosecutors, and law enforcement partners in our continuing battle to disrupt these criminal organizations. We will continue to work with all of our law partners to dismantle these criminal organizations."
The evidence presented at the three-day trial proved that from 2006 through September 23, 2010, Sevilla-Acosta conspired with others to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana throughout Minnesota and Colorado. The evidence at trial established the existence of this far-reaching marijuana trafficking ring, which was responsible for the distribution of approximately 25,000 kilograms of marijuana in Minnesota from 2006 to September 2010. The proceeds of sale were worth millions of dollars.
For his crimes, Sevilla-Acosta faces a potential maximum penalty of life in federal prison, as well as possible fines and forfeitures. United States District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz will determine his sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.
Judge Schiltz has already sentenced 23 co-defendants for one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and four co-defendants on one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
On June 5, 2012, Sergio Abraham Olivas Padilla, also known as Juan Alonzo-Perez, was sentenced to 60 months in prison on one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. He pleaded guilty on September 20, 2011.
On March 5, 2012, Jose Israel Diaz was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on May 10, 2011.
On March 2, 2012, Ricardo Diaz was sentenced to 70 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on May 13, 2011.
On December 22, 2011, Stephanie Rachel Raduenz was sentenced to three years of probation. She pleaded guilty on December 20, 2010.
On December 21, 2011, Jorge Luis Medrano was sentenced to 15 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on December 3, 2010.
On December 19, 2011, Jose Cruz Alvarez Jaime, also known as Carlos Munoz-Perez, was sentenced to 75 months in prison and Tyler Louis Kyte was sentenced to 84 months. Jaime pleaded guilty on May 10, 2011, and Kyte pleaded guilty on December 7, 2010.
On December 14, 2011, Michael Asencion Moreno was sentenced to 108 months. He pleaded guilty on January 11, 2011.
On November 29, 2011, Federico Llamas, III, was sentenced to 78 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on December 16, 2010.
On November 1, 2011, Gustavo Moreno was sentenced to 18 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on May 13, 2011.
On October 28, 2011, Jorge Luis Villar-Meras was also sentenced to 18 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on May 4, 2012.
On October 5, 2011, Yolanda Jean Moreno was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in prison. She pleaded guilty on November 22, 2010.
On September 27, 2011, Francisco Javier Carreon-Garcia was sentenced to 121 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on January 13, 2011.
On August 30, 2011, Greg Bryan Ortega was sentenced to 24 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on December 13, 2010.
On August 29, 2011, Sabrina Jean Lafountaine was sentenced to three years of probation and Alan Lee Lorentz was sentenced to six months in prison. Lafountaine and Lorentz pleaded guilty on December 6, 2010.
On August 11, 2011, Alonso Rascon-Olivas was sentenced to 68 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on November 29, 2010.
On August 5, 2011, Joel Auren Zellmann was sentenced to three years of probation. He pleaded guilty on November 12, 2010.
On July 28, 2011, Bruce John Johnson was sentenced to 43 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on November 17, 2010.
On July 26, 2011, Amy Marie Mayberry was sentenced to 12 months in prison. She pleaded guilty on December 20, 2010.
On July 8, 2011, Stefanie Donna Kalenberg was sentenced to 10 months in prison. She also pleaded guilty on December 20, 2010.
On June 30, 2011, Charles Joseph Kalenberg was sentenced also sentenced to 10 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on November 8, 2010.
On June 23, 2011, Alfonso Prado-Galvon was sentenced to 37 months in prison. He pleaded guilty on December 21, 2010.
In addition, Judge Schiltz sentenced four co-defendants on one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
On July 27, 2011, Jose Luis Renterra was sentenced to 37 months in prison on one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana on September 22, 2010. He pleaded guilty on January 13, 2011.
On June 10, 2011, Rogelio E. Obeso-Melchor was sentenced to 30 months in prison on one count of possession with intent to distribute on April 20, 2010. He pleaded guilty on December 21, 2010.
On May 19, 2011, William Robert Laurie was sentenced to 27 months in prison on one count of possession with intent to distribute on August 19, 2009. He pleaded guilty on November 16, 2010.
On April 29, 2011, Patrick Thomas Maykoski was sentenced to 60 months in prison on one count of possession with intent to distribute on February 24, 2010. Maykoski pleaded guilty on October 29, 2010.
This conviction culminates a significant investigation, dubbed Operation Weed Whacker. This case was the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation led by the DEA Minneapolis-St. Paul District Office in cooperation with other state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Bloomington Police Department, the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office, the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, the Hutchinson Police Department, and the Glencoe Police Department with assistance provided by the South West Metro Drug Task Force, DEA Denver Office, Denver Police Department, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minnesota State Patrol, the Dakota County Drug Task Force, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.