Foreign National Sentenced on Cocaine Conspiracy
A citizen of Mexico, who was named, along with nine others in an indictment returned in August 2012, was sentenced to prison on May 10, 2013, 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, had previously entered a plea of guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine on January 23, 2013. Lopez was sentenced to 46 months imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release. Lopez was ordered to pay a $100 special assessment and to forfeit $27, 104 to the United States. In addition, the Court entered a Judicial Order of Removal, which will requires that he be deported from the United States following the service of his sentence.
Five of the ten conspirators charged in the indictment have entered pleas of guilty. Three 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 was assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Randy G. Massey for prosecution.