News and Press Releases

Indictment: Wichita Restaurant Owner's Income
Came From Drugs, Counterfeit Checks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Dec. 4, 2013

WICHITA, KAN. - A Wichita restaurant owner has been charged with drug trafficking, firearms violations, bank fraud and money laundering, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Gerald Beasley, 58, Andover, Kan., was charged in June with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. A 23-count superseding indictment returned by a grand jury Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Wichita includes the following charges:

Three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.
Three counts of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
One count of maintaining a drug involved premises at 1122 N. Piatt in Wichita.
One count of maintaining a drug involved premises at Tiara’s Place, a restaurant at 1339 N. Hillside in Wichita.
One count of possession with intent to distribute heroin.
One count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
One count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
One count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
One count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine.
One count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin.
One count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Five counts of bank fraud.
Two counts of money laundering.
One count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The indictment alleges investigators monitored Beasley’s telephone calls and examined his tax records, bank records and real estate purchases to obtain evidence that he derived his income from criminal activities including drug trafficking and counterfeit checks. Law enforcement officers served search warrants in June and seized more than $229,000 from bank accounts and $346,000 in cash from residences and a business location. They also seized firearms, ammunition, controlled substances and drug trafficking paraphernalia.

Other allegations in the indictment include the following:

  • Tiara’s Place restaurant, owned by Beasley, reported $104,864 in gross receipts for July 1, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2012. The restaurant’s total gross income reported to the Internal Revenue Service during the same period was $493,707.
  • Law enforcement officers determined Beasley operated a counterfeit check and identity theft operation locally and in other states. He made counterfeit checks, recruited people to cash the checks and then split the cash proceeds with the check passers. He provided cars he owned or rented for their use while passing counterfeit checks.
  • Beasley unlawfully possessed firearms and ammunition despite being prohibited from doing so because of a prior felony conviction.

The government is seeking the forfeiture of all money and property representing the proceeds of the crimes including the following real estate owned by Beasley: 660 N. Estelle, 1322 N. Estelle, 1815 E. 23rd, 907 N. Wabash, 2341 N. Piatt, 618 Hedgewood (Andover), 2001 Colt Court (Andover), 2826 E. 23rd, 1648 N. Estelle, 907 and 907 1/2 N. Cleveland, 655 N. Estelle, 1118 N. Piatt, 1728 McFarland, 2244 N. Kansas, 1339 N. Hillside, 1343 N. Hillside, 3623 E. Funston, 1122 N. Piatt, and 1304 N. Grove.

 Upon conviction, the alleged crimes carry the following penalties:

 Unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than five years -- consecutive to a sentence on the underlying drug charge -- and a fine up to $250,000.
Maintaining a drug involved premises: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $500,000.
Possession with intent to distribute heroin: Not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $5 million.
Possession with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.
Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin: Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $4 million.
Conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud: A maximum penalty of 30 years and a fine up to $1 million.
Money laundering: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $500,000.

The following agencies worked on the case: Wichita Police Department, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Internal Revenue Service and the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs are prosecuting. 

OTHER INDICTMENTS
        

Sherrie Landell, 41, Erie, Kan., is charged with one count of embezzlement by an employee of a bank and two counts of making false entries in bank records. The indictment alleges Landell embezzled while she was an employee of Exchange State Bank, 408 N. 5th St. in St. Paul, Kan.

If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million. The U.S. Secret Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith is prosecuting.

Ricardo Garcia-Chihuahua, 37, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported. He was found Nov. 7, 2013, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

 If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Richard W. Smith, 59, Augusta, Kan., is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids, one count of possession with intent to distribute Alprazolam, one count of possession with intent to distribute Diazepam, one count of possession with intent to distribute Meprobamate, one count of possession with intent to distribute Nitrazepam, one count of possession with intent to distribute Phenobarbital, one count of possession with intent to distribute Medazepam, one count of possession with intent to distribute Temazepam, one count of possession with intent distribute Oxycodone, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances and one count of unlawful possession of a stolen firearm. The crimes are alleged to have occurred March 15, 2013, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:

Possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $500,000.
Possession with intent to distribute Alprazolam, Diazepam, Meprobamate, Nitrazepam, Phenobarbital, Medazepam and Temazepam: A maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000.
Possession with intent to distribute Oxycodone: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than five 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.
Unlawful possession of a stolen firearm: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.

Homeland Security Investigations, the Wichita Police Department and the Kansas Department of Revenue investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.

 Codaniel A. Jones, 33, Independence, Kan., is charged with two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances and one count of possession of marijuana. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in August and September 2013 in Montgomery County, Kan.

Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:

Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to$1 million.
Unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch is prosecuting.

Juan Vargas, 43, Yucaipa, Calif., is charged with possession with intent to distribute approximately five kilograms of methamphetamine. The crime is alleged to have occurred Nov. 9, 2013, in Thomas County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $4 million. The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.

Howard Harden, 51, Liberal, Kan., and Ebony James, 20, Wichita, Kan., are charged with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. The crime is alleged to have occurred May 23, 2013, in Clark County, Kan.

If convicted, they face a penalty of not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million. The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.

Fernando Fernandez, Jr., 23, Wichita, Kan., one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition after a felony conviction. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Nov. 10, 2013, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

 If convicted he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000. The Wichita Police Department Investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.

Jacob Engstrom, 26, Wichita, Kan., and Tessa Bowler, 30, Wichita, Kan., are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. In addition, Engstrom is charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in February 2012 and May 2012 in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, they face a penalty of not less than 10 years and a fine up to $4 million on the conspiracy count. In addition, if convicted, he faces a penalty of not less than five years – consecutive to the penalty for the drug count -- and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and a maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the other firearm charge. The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.

Anel V. Garcia-Estrada, 22, and Sandra Luz Estrada De Garcia, 44, are charged one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 17 counts of money laundering. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2010 and 2011 in Sedgwick County.

The indictment alleges the defendants conducted interstate financial transactions using funds derived from drug trafficking.

 If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $500,000 on each count. The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett is prosecuting.

Jose Armando De Luna, 34, Wichita, Kan., is charged in a superseding indictment with one count of distributing methamphetamine, three counts of unlawful possession of ammunition after a felony conviction, one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, two counts of unlawful possession of firearms after a felony conviction, and one count of unlawful possession of sawed off shotguns. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in September 2013 in Sedgwick County, Kan.

 Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:

Distribution of methamphetamine: A maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million.
Unlawful possession of firearms or ammunition after a felony conviction: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Possession with intent to distribute amphetamine: Not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000.
Unlawful possession of a sawed off shotgun: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger 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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