GRANITE CITY WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY
A Granite City woman, indicted along with twenty-two other individuals, charged with being a member of a large cocaine distribution organization, has pled guilty in federal district court in East St. Louis, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Jessica Hernandez, 23, of Granite City, IL, entered a plea of guilty on June 30, 2011, to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. Hernandez also admitted the forfeiture allegation contained in the indictment and agreed to forfeit her interest in $206,970 to the United States.
Hernandez is currently scheduled to be sentenced at 9:00 am on November 4, 2011. She faces a minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment to a possible maximum penalty of imprisonment for life, a fine of not more than $10 million, a term of supervised release of at least 5 years, and a mandatory special assessment of $100.
Other individuals who were charged in the same indictment are currently awaiting trial. Those individuals 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 to which Hernandez plead guilty 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.