Two Foreign Nationals Sentenced to Prison Terms for Their Roles in Large Cocaine Distribution Organization
Two men who were indicted along with twenty-four other individuals and charged with being a members of a large cocaine distribution organization, were sentenced in United States District Court in East St. Louis on March 23, 2012, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Seventeen others have previously been sentenced to prison terms. The remainder are awaiting sentencing.
Francisco Perez, 28, a citizen of Mexico, who is currently in the United States illegally, and who had previously entered a plea of guilty on December 8, 2011, to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine, was sentenced to 70 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Perez was ordered to pay a special assessment of $100. He was also ordered to forfeit $136,920 to the United States.
Homero Hernandez-Vega, 41, a citizen of Mexico who is currently in the United States illegally, and who previously entered pleas of guilty on December 14, 2011, 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, was sentenced to 25 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay a special assessment of $210. The Court also ordered Hernandez-Vega to forfeit $23,730 to the United States.
In addition, to the sentences imposed, the Court entered Judicial Orders of Removal as to both Perez and Hernandez-Vega, which will require each to be deported from the United States following his release from prison.
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 was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randy G. Massey.