JURY CONVICTS LARGE-SCALE MARIJUANA AND COCAINE TRAFFICKER
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 02, 2011
Public Affairs Officer
Faces mandatory life sentence
COLUMBUS – A United States District Court jury here convicted Rene Rodriguez, 47, of Mission, Texas of two counts conspiring to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and five kilograms of cocaine from Texas to central Ohio, crimes that each carries a mandatory punishment of life in prison.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Anthony Marotta, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes and Union County Sheriff Rocky W. Nelson announced the verdict returned yesterday at the conclusion of a trial that began January 24, 2011 before U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
Rodriguez was indicted in February 2010 and a superseding indictment was returned in November 2010 following a three and one-half-year investigation. According to testimony presented during the trial and documents filed by the government, Rodriguez is from the south Texas area but lived in Columbus in the early 2000s. He helped supply hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and thousands of pounds of marijuana through a network of distributors in central Ohio.
Rodriguez began supplying marijuana and cocaine in 2005 in relatively small quantities that were sent through the mail. By 2008, these quantities became quite large and were being transported by tractor trailer. Evidence presented during the trial showed that three of the shipments each contained 100 kilograms of cocaine. Rodriguez often travelled between Columbus and south Texas to coordinate the deliveries and return cash to his suppliers, whom he claimed were connected to a Mexican drug cartel.
In 2007, DEA and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office began investigating some of Rodriguez’s local connections as part of a series of seizures and local search warrants. DEA agents arrested Rodriguez in Columbus on May 19, 2010. He has been in custody since his arrest. Judge Marbley will set a date for sentencing.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the DEA agents and the task force officers from Franklin and Union counties, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Don Pashayan and Laura Denton, who are prosecuting the case. He also thanked the Columbus Police Department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for their roles in supporting the investigation.