Foreign National Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Conspiracy
A citizen of Mexico, who was named, along with nine others in an indictment returned in August 2012, has pled guilty, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.
Vincente Lopez, 38, a citizen of Mexico, who most recently resided in Madison, Illinois, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. Lopez also admitted the forfeiture allegation in the indictment and agreed to forfeit to the United States the amount of $27,104. In addition, Lopez agreed to the entry of a Judicial Order of Removal, which will require that he be deported from the United States following the service of his sentence.
Lopez is currently scheduled to be sentenced on May 10, 2013, at which time he faces a potential sentence of 10 years to life in prison, a $10,000,000 fine, a term of supervised release of at least 5 years, and a $100 special assessment.
Three of the ten conspirators charged in the indictment have entered pleas of guilty. Five are awaiting trial, and two remain fugitives. An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, those defendants who have not yet been convicted are presumed to be innocent of a charge and is 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), U.S. Marshal Service, the Granite City Police Department, Fairview Heights Police Department, the Collinsville Police Department, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the St. Louis County (Missouri) Police Department, the St. Charles County (Missouri) Sheriff’s Department, and the Nebraska State Patrol. This case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Randy G. Massey for prosecution.