News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 9, 2010

FEDERAL GRAND JURY INDICTMENT: TRAFFICKERS WITH TIES TO MEXICO PEDDLED METH, CRACK, MARIJUANA IN WICHITA


WICHITA, KAN. – A federal grand jury in Wichita has returned a 107-count indictment against 18 men alleging they were part of a drug trafficking ring in Wichita with ties to Mexico, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said today.

An indictment unsealed Thursday describes a far reaching operation in which conspirators carried guns and laundered significant sums of cash from peddling drugs. Ten of the defendants are identified as Spanish speakers who will need interpreters for hearings in court. Five of the defendants are charged in counts alleging they are Mexican citizens who committed the alleged crimes after illegally entering the United States. Two of the defendants are charged in counts alleging they used violence and threats of violence to collect drug debts. In forfeiture counts aimed at seizing the proceeds of the alleged crimes, the government seeks money judgments in amounts up to $197,000 from specific conspirators.

Named in the indictment are:
Alejandro Calderon, 33, Wichita, Kan.
Jesus Cisneros, 26, Wichita, Kan.
Jose Fernando Espinoza-Placensia, 34.
Tyler Green, 26, Zenda, Kan.
Heriberto Miranda-Roldan, 24.
Juan Manuel Ortiz, 26.
Jose Gomez Solorio, 31.
Omar Torres, 24.
Rudolph Beach, III, 23, Wichita, Kan.
Henry Brooks, 37, Wichita, Kan.
Esteban Gauna, 30, Wichita, Kan.
Timothy Lawrence, 23, Wichita, Kan.
Ricardo Q. Quintana, 25.
Armando Rodriguez, 32, Wichita, Kan.
Julio Ruiz Rios, 24, Wichita, Kan.
Audon Soto Salas, 38, Wichita, Kan.
Wesley Shelton, 49, Wichita, Kan.
Luis Valeriano, 19, Wichita, Kan.

Upon conviction, the alleged crimes carry the following penalties:

Conspiracy to distribute marijuana: Not less than 5 years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million.
Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.
Possession with intent to distribute marijuana: A maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Intent to distribute marijuana: A maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine: Not less than 10 years and not more than life and a fine up to $4 million.
Unlawful entry into the United States: A maximum penalty of six months and a fine up to $5,000.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than 5 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful possession of a firearm by an illegal alien: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful use of a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of four years and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful re-entry into the United States after being convicted of a felony and deported: A maximum penalty of two years and a fine up to $250,000.
Use of violence and threats of violence in extortion: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Distribution of marijuana: A maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Distribution of methamphetamine: A penalty of not less than 5 years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million.
Money laundering: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine: A penalty of not less than 10 years and not more than life and a fine up to $4 million.
Distribution of crack cocaine: A penalty of not less than 5 years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million.
Interstate travel in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Possession with intent to distribute cocaine: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.


The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. The U.S. Attorney’s office is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.



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