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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


NOVEMBER 19, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OPERATION SUSPICIOUS MINDS


FEDERAL INDICTMENTS CHARGE 23 DEFENDANTS IN

$2 MILLION DRUG-TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACIES,

FIREARMS, IMMIGRATION VIOLATIONS


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that 23 defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury, in separate but related cases, as a result of Operation Suspicious Minds. Two separate drug-trafficking conspiracies are alleged to have generated approximately $1 million each in proceeds.


            “Today’s indictments will have a significant impact on drug trafficking in the Northeast area of Kansas City,” Wood said. “Law enforcement officers from several local and federal agencies worked together to conduct an extensive investigation. Thanks to their diligent efforts, a number of individuals who are allegedly responsible for a significant amount of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana are no longer dealing on our city’s streets.”


            Operation Suspicious Minds resulted in a series of three indictments that were returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008. In total, 23 defendants, primarily from the Northeast area of Kansas City, Mo., were charged in separate but related cases for their involvement in drug-trafficking conspiracies as well as firearms and immigration violations.


            “Today’s execution of search warrants, arrests and seizures represent the outstanding cooperation among our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Monte Strait. “The FBI will continue to aggressively target those criminal enterprises that represent the greatest threat to our community.”


U.S. v. San-Miguel, et al


            Dora Elena San-Miguel, 44, Javier Alejandro Rios-Carreon, 36, Anonio Quinones, 61, Marlon Millan, 24, all citizens of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo.; Robert Davis, 21, and Melvin Kerr, 31, both of Kansas City, Mo.; Ruben Castro, 48, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Kan.; William Scott Bowen, 39, of Salisbury, Mo.; Moises Garcia, 34, a citizen of Mexico residing in Gladstone, Mo.; and Luis Chavez-Hernandez, 35, and Veronica Pena-Baca, 30, both citizens of Mexico, were charged in a 10-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2008. This superseding indictment replaces an indictment that was returned on Aug. 19, 2008, which charged only San-Miguel and Rios-Carreon.


            The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants have been involved in a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, five kilograms or more of cocaine, and 50 kilograms or more of marijuana since Jan. 1, 2006. Quinones is also charged with distributing five grams or more of methamphetamine.


            Davis, Garcia and Chavez-Hernandez are also charged with using a telephone to facilitate the distribution of marijuana. Millan is also charged with using a telephone to facilitate the distribution of cocaine, and with being in possession of a fraudulent or counterfeit immigration document.


            In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, San-Miguel is charged with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. She is also charged with possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime and with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. San-Miguel was allegedly in possession of a Rohm .38-caliber pistol.


            The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit $1 million – representing the proceeds of the conspiracy. San-Miguel would also be required to forfeit her interest in two residential properties and Castro would be required to forfeit his interest in a residential property. San-Miguel, Quinones and Pena-Baca would also be required to forfeit their interest in their vehicles.


U.S. v. Garcia, et al


            Custodio Garcia, 28, Noe Garcia, 31, and Elsa Sanders, 31, all citizens of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo.; Miguel Escutia, 26, Kevin Allen, 28, and Heather D. Wiehe, 28, all of Kansas City, Mo.; Joseph W. Vargas, 48, of Moberly, Mo.; Ryan K. Miller, 34, of Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Eduardo Guzman, 24, of Kansas City, Kan.; Rodney Hughes, 45, of Columbia, Mo.; and Jose Luis Flores-Pagaza, 33, a citizen of Mexico, were charged in a 15-count indictment returned under seal on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008.


            The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants have been involved in a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, five kilograms or more of cocaine, and 50 kilograms or more of marijuana since Jan. 1, 2006.


            In addition to the conspiracy, Noe Garcia and Vargas are charged with aiding and abetting each other to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. Guzman and Allen are also charged with aiding and abetting each other to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine.


            Custodio Garcia and Flores-Pagaza are also charged with being illegal aliens in possession of a firearm. They were allegedly in possession of a Ruger .45-caliber revolver on Feb. 22, 2008. They are also charged with aiding and abetting each other to use a firearm in relation to a drug-trafficking crime.


            Flores-Pagaza, Escutia and Hughes are also charged with using a telephone to facilitate the distribution of cocaine. Vargas was also charged with using a telephone to facilitate the distribution of marijuana. Miller was also charged with using a telephone to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine.


            Custodio Garcia, Noe Garcia, Flores-Pagaza, Escutia and Sanders are also charged with illegally entering the United States from Mexico in December 2003.


            The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit $1 million – representing the proceeds of the conspiracy. Custodio Garcia would also be required to forfeit his interest in two residential properties; Noe Garcia would also be required to forfeit her interest in one residential property; and Vargas would be required to forfeit his interest in two residential properties. Custodio Garcia would also be required to forfeit his interest in five vehicles; Noe Garcia would be required to forfeit her interest in three vehicles; and Flores-Pagaza would be required to forfeit his interest in one vehicle.


            These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathleen D. Mahoney and Joseph M. Marquez. They were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Jackson County Drug Task Force.


U.S. v. Montes-Montes


            Victor Montes-Montes, 33, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., was charged with illegally possessing a firearm in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Tuesday, Nov. 18.


            The federal indictment alleges that Montes-Montes, an illegal alien, was in possession of a Pioneer .22-caliber rifle on Nov. 7, 2008.


            These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Venneman. They were investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html