Southern California Cocaine Suppliers Convicted In Largest Jefferson County Federal Drug Trafficking Operation
– Cocaine supply tied to the Mexican Drug Cartel
– Involved the sale of 100 kilos of cocaine per month and resulted in 26 arrests
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A federal jury in Louisville, Kentucky found Abel Flores and Ramon Flores guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, announced David J. Hale, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. According to evidence presented during the five day trial before U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson, III, the defendants sold thousands of kilos of cocaine. The drugs were brought into the United States through a Mexican drug cartel to trafficking organizer Michael McCarthy, for distribution in the Louisville area. At trial, the United States proved that Abel Flores, age 41, of Los Angeles, California and Ramon Flores, age 34, of Los Angeles, California, supplied the cocaine through a cross-country distribution network originating in Southern California. The cocaine was driven from Southern California to Louisville where it was received by McCarthy and distributed to other members of the organization in Louisville. The same delivery drivers also transported the cash payments back to the Flores brothers once each load was distributed. This courier system involved two defendants, usually driving a super duty pick up pulling automobiles in the trailer behind it, who would then return between one to five million dollars to the Flores brothers each month. The drugs or cash were usually hidden within the vehicles they were hauling. The conspiracy involving the Flores brothers and the 24 co-defendants began in August 2007 and ran through May 10, 2010.
“These convictions illustrate the importance of law enforcement collaboration across jurisdictional lines,” stated U.S. Attorney David J. Hale. “Working with my office, the DEA and ATF coordinated this successful investigation that also included assistance from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Kentucky State Police, the Indiana State Police, and additional local law enforcement agencies from Southern Indiana and Tennessee. Their combined efforts curtailed a violent interstate drug organization. Our communities are safer as a result.”
At trial, the United States presented evidence obtained through wire tapped phone recordings, controlled calls, jail calls, defendant witnesses in the Bureau of Prisons, defendant witnesses in Marshal custody, numerous law enforcement witnesses from different agencies, and experts from the Louisville fingerprint lab, the DEA drug lab (Chicago and New York), and an expert from the T-Mobile law enforcement compliance division to discuss the data gathered from defendant cell phones. The United States also presented documents relating to phone records, hotel records and airline records. More than 20 assault style rifles, 37 kilos of cocaine, and $4 million cash were seized during multiple Arrests, and presented as evidence during the trial that concluded Friday, December 7, 2012. The jury deliberated 1 hour before reaching unanimous guilty verdicts.
To date, all 26 defendants in the case have either pled guilty to charges and have been sentenced, or have been found guilty at trial and await sentencing.
At sentencing, the defendants face from 10 years to Life in prison followed by at least 5 years of supervised release and a fine of $10 million dollars.
Sentencing is scheduled before Judge Simpson on March 11, 2012 at 1:30pm in United States District Court.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Scott Davis and Robert B. Bonar and was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Louisville Division Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Louisville Field Division.