News and Press Releases

Four Men Plead Guilty to Roles in Large Cocaine Distribution Organization

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2011

Four men who were indicted along with twenty-two other individuals and charged with being members of a large cocaine distribution organization, pled guilty in federal court in East St. Louis on December 14, 2011, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. In entering their pleas, each man admitted his role in an organization responsible for distributing multiple kilogram quantities of cocaine in the Metro-East area.

Ivan Vazquez-Gonzalez, 23, a citizen of Mexico, who is currently in the United States illegally, and who most recently resided in Granite City and Chicago, entered pleas of guilty to Engaging in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE), Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Illegal Entry into the United States Without Inspection, Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments, and Interstate Travel in Support of Racketeering. Vazquez-Gonzalez also admitted the forfeiture allegation contained in the indictment and agreed to forfeit $9,000,000 to the United States. In addition, Vazquez-Gonzalez 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. Vazquez-Gonzalez, currently scheduled to be sentenced at 9:00 a.m., on March 30, 2012, faces a minimum sentence of twenty years to a maximum of life in prison, a fine of up to $12,255,000, a minimum of five years supervised release, and a special assessment of $310.

Daniel Ortiz, 28, of Granite City, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess With the Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Distribution of Cocaine. Ortiz also admitted the forfeiture allegation contained in the indictment and agreed to forfeit $413,070 to the United States. He is currently scheduled to be sentenced at 10:00 a.m., on March 30, 2012, at which time he faces a minimum sentence of ten years to a maximum of life imprisonment, an $11,000,000 fine, at least five years of supervised release, and a $200 special assessment.

Manuel Ramirez, 24, of Fairmont City, Illinois, entered a plea of guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess With the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. He admitted the forfeiture allegation, the amount of which will be determined at the time of sentencing. Ramirez is scheduled to be sentenced at 10:00 a.m., on March 22, 2012. At sentencing, he faces a minimum sentence of five years, to a maximum of forty years imprisonment, a $5,000,000 fine, at least four years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.

Homero Hernandez-Vega, 41, a citizen of Mexico, who admitted that he is currently in the United States illegally, entered pleas of guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess With the Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Entry Into the United States Without Inspection, and Possession With the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. Hernandez-Vega admitted the forfeiture allegation, and agreed to forfeit $23,730 to the United States. In addition, he 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. Hernandez-Vega is currently scheduled to be sentenced at 2:00 p.m., on March 23, 2012. He faces a potential sentence of between five and forty years of incarceration, a fine of $11,005,000, at least four years of supervised release, and a special assessment of $210.

Eighteen other co-conspirators have also entered pleas of guilty. Other individuals who were charged in the same indictment 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.

 

 

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Stay Connected: Visit us on Twitter
Victim Witness

Click here for information in multiple victim cases.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'