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Urbana, Ill. – A Paxton, Ill., man, Eddi Ramirez, 32, who led an extensive network of cocaine and heroin suppliers, couriers, and distributors, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, as announced by Jim Lewis, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois. At sentencing yesterday, before U.S. District Judge Michael P. McCuskey, the government characterized Ramirez and his operation as one of the largest and most far-reaching cocaine dealers in central Illinois’ history. Ramirez has remained in law enforcement custody since his arrest in September 2012.
As a result of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, known as "Operation Tres Ciudades (Three Cities)", law enforcement gathered evidence to establish that Ramirez led a drug organization, from 2011 to September 2012, that was responsible for the importation of more than 200 pounds of cocaine from Mexico destined for central Illinois, stretching from Paxton to Champaign, Decatur and Springfield. Sixteen defendants have been charged and sentenced for their respective roles in Ramirez’s trafficking operation or their relation to it; three defendants remain fugitives. A list of the defendants and their respective sentences is attached.
A jury convicted Ramirez, aka "Migo," on Feb. 13, 2014, following a seven-day trial, of conspiring with others to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine. During the seven days of trial, the government presented evidence obtained from a court-authorized wiretap of seven of Ramirez’s telephones, the seizure of approximately $855,716 in cash; nearly nine kilograms (nearly 20 pounds) of cocaine seized in Springfield, Elgin and Houston, Texas; and approximately three kilograms (six pounds) of heroin.
Evidence further established that Ramirez used multiple sources in Texas, Arizona and Chicago, various couriers to transport the cocaine to central Illinois, and then provided the cocaine, valued at more than $3 million, to dealers in central Illinois. Government evidence also established that Ramirez used a house at 76 E. Court Drive, in Decatur, Ill., as a ‘stash’ house to store and package cocaine and to move drug money.
“This was a particularly significant pipeline of drugs into our area. We had to shut it down, and we did,” said U.S. Attorney Lewis. “Law enforcement, especially DEA, FBI, the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and the Decatur Police Department, worked together to make smart use of their respective investigative resources to effectively shut down this extensive drug operation, to hold Ramirez and his organization accountable, and to truly serve our community.”
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation known as "Operation Tres Ciudades (Three Cities,)" was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Springfield Resident Office. Law enforcement agencies participating in this investigation include the FBI, Springfield Division; Decatur Police Department; Springfield Police Department; the Illinois State Police, the Central Illinois Enforcement Group; the Illinois Attorney General’s Office; and, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations also provided assistance in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass prosecuted the cases in the Central District of Illinois, Springfield and Urbana Divisions.