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Three Men Charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Kilograms of Cocaine

February 25, 2009

Rock Island, Ill. – A federal grand jury today charged three men with conspiracy to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine over the last three years, as announced by U.S. Attorney Rodger A. Heaton of the Central District of Illinois.

The indictment charges Modesto Herrera, also known as Ramon Navacano, 49, of Melrose Park, Illinois; Saul Martinez, 49, of the 400 block of North East Street, Kewanee, Illinois; and Armando Martinez, 43, of Silvis, Illinois with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine from 2005 to December 3, 2008, in Henry County, Illinois and elsewhere. The indictment also charges Saul Martinez with three additional counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine on three occasions in October and November 2008, in Henry County: October 7; November 4; and, November 18.

If convicted, the conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison; with a prior felony drug conviction, the penalty is enhanced to a mandatory minimum 20 years in prison. For the distribution offense, the penalty is up to 20 years in prison.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Illinois State Police in cooperation with the Henry County State’s Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney John K. Mehochko is prosecuting the case.

The three men were previously charged in a criminal complaint and made initial court appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Shields. Armando Martinez was released on bond pending trial; Herrera and Saul Martinez were ordered detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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