Granite City Woman Sentenced for Role in Large Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
A Granite City woman who was charged with conspiracy for being a member of a large cocaine distribution organization with at least twenty-five other individuals, has been sentenced to 70 months in federal prison, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Jessica Lynn Hernandez, 23, of Granite City, Illinois, was sentenced on November 18, 2011, in United States District Court in East St. Louis, following her earlier plea of guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. In addition to the prison term, Hernandez was fined $625 and ordered to pay a special assessment of $100. Hernandez was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following her release from prison. In addition, Hernandez was ordered to forfeit the $206,970 currency which was seized from her during the investigation to the United States.
Thirteen other co-conspirators have also entered pleas of guilty in this case and have been or are awaiting sentencing. Other individuals who were charged in the same indictment have pled not guilty and are currently awaiting trial. Those who have pled not guilty 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.