Two More Members of Drug Trafficking Organization Convicted
Tampa, FL - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that a federal jury today found Chester John Floyd (48, Lithia) and Pedro Lazaro Rodriguez (27, Seffner) guilty of conspiracy with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine, 500 or more grams of methamphetamine, and a quantity of marijuana. Floyd was also found guilty of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. Rodriguez was also found guilty of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of drug trafficking, traveling in interstate commerce to distribute drug proceeds, and maintaining a premises for the purpose of storing and distributing illegal narcotics. Floyd faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years up to life in federal prison. Rodriguez faces a mandatory minimum penalty of life in federal prison. Their sentencing hearings have not yet been set.
Floyd and Rodriguez were indicted on June 23, 2011.
According to evidence presented at trial, Floyd and Rodriguez were conspirators in a national drug trafficking and money laundering organization stretching from Florida to California. Large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana would be shipped to various conspirators in the Tampa area via Federal Express, UPS, and luxury automobiles in which the narcotics were hidden. Conspirators, including Floyd and Rodriguez, would receive narcotics on behalf of the organization and break them down for further distribution in the Tampa area. Rodriguez and other Tampa-based conspirators would also collect and conceal millions of dollars in drug proceeds that were either deposited into various bank accounts or transported back to California via commercial airline.
In addition to Floyd and Rodriguez, the following conspirators have already pleaded guilty for their roles in this nationwide drug trafficking and money laundering organization:
Victor Yanez-Gutierrez (35, San Jose, California);
Maria Lourdes Aguilar (29, San Jose, California);
Gabriel Salazar Pena (43, Manteca, California);
Jabulani Bendar Seay (34, Tampa, Florida);
Carlos Byron Smith (32, Tampa Florida);
Enrique Hernandez-Ramirez (41, Dade City, Florida);
Juan Hernandez-Ramirez (42, Dade City, Florida);
Jason Paul Hoelzel (42, Lakeland, Florida);
Raquel Valdez-Polvos (20, San Jose, California);
Fermin Yanez-Zabalza (25, San Jose, California);
Ivan Aguilar-Sandoval (22, San Jose, California);
Alejandro Arias-Perez (40, Dade City, Florida);
Jennifer Lynn Thomas (32, Dade City, Florida);
Ronald Lee Carrick (50, Zephyrhills, Florida);
Luis Manuel Garcia (38, Plant City, Florida); and
Jerry Lloyd Nichols (54, Lakeland, Florida).
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other federal, state, and local agencies as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Josephine W. Thomas and Christopher F. Murray.