News and Press Releases

Foreign National Sentenced For Role In Large Cocaine Distribution Organization

July 02, 2012

A man who was indicted along with twenty-five other individuals and charged with being a member of a large cocaine distribution organization responsible for distributing well in excess of 150 kilograms of cocaine, was sentenced in Federal Court in East St. Louis on June 29, 2012, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Saul Ruelas-Valdovinos, 36, a Mexican citizen who is currently in the United States illegally, and who most recently resided in Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced to a term of 327 months imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Ruelas-Valdovinos was also ordered to pay a fine of $1250 and a special assessment of $100; he was also ordered to forfeit four million, three hundred sixty-eight thousand dollars ($4,368,000.00) to the United States. In addition, the Court entered a Judicial Order of Removal, which requires that the Defendant be deported from the United States following the service of his term of imprisonment.

On February 2, 2012, Ruelas-Valdovinos pled guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. In imposing the sentence, the Court found that Ruelas- Valdovinos supplied the drug trafficking organization (DTO) with the bulk of the cocaine distributed by the DTO, which distributed well in excess of 150 kilograms. The Court also found that the Defendant occupied a managerial role and made multiple credible threats of violence in relation to his drug trafficking activities.

All of the co-conspirators have now entered pleas of guilty in this case. One remains to be sentenced. The others have been sentenced to prison for terms ranging from 21 months to 521 months.

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.










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