Foreign National Pleads Guilty
A man who was indicted along with twenty-five other individuals and charged with being a member of a large cocaine distribution organization, has pled guilty, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Jose Luis Garcia, 25, a citizen of Guatemala, who is currently in the United States illegally, entered pleas of guilty on December 13, 2011, in federal district court in East St. Louis, to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine and one count of Illegal Entry into the United States Without Inspection. Garcia also admitted the forfeiture allegation contained in the indictment and agreed to forfeit his interest in $146,580 to the United States. In addition, Garcia agreed to the entry of a Judicial Order of Removal, which will require him to be deported from the United States following his release from prison.
Garcia is currently scheduled to be sentenced at 2:00 p.m. on March 30, 2012, at which he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment to a possible maximum penalty of imprisonment for life, a fine of not more than $10,005,000, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years. Garcia will also be required to pay a mandatory special assessment of $110.
Seventeen co-conspirators have also entered pleas of guilty. Other individuals who were charged in the same indictment as Garcia are currently awaiting trial, which is scheduled to begin in March, 2012. They are presumed to be innocent of all charges and are entitled to a fair trial at which the Government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Evidence in support of the indictment was obtained in an investigation which was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF initiative is designed to bring federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and resources together to identify, target and dismantle large national and international drug trafficking organizations. Participating agencies include the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Marshal Service, the Granite City Police Department, Fairmont City Police Department, Collinsville Police Department, Fairview Heights Police Department, Caseyville Police Department, Pontoon Beach Police Department, Park Hills (Missouri) Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and the Illinois State Police. This case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Randy G. Massey.