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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 21, 2021

14 Defendants Charged with Drug Trafficking Conspiracy and Related Crimes in Racine, Wisconsin, and Elsewhere

Richard G. Frohling, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on October 20, 2021, a federal indictment was unsealed that charged thirteen Racine-area individuals with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and 500 grams or more of cocaine base in the form of “crack” cocaine. 

The following individuals are charged in the indictment:

Name

Resident

GERARDO LARA, a.k.a. “MIGO,” a.k.a. “DINEROO,” (age 27)

Franksville, WI

SARAH A. BECKIUS (age 27)

Kenosha, WI

PLAZE E. ANDERSON (age 23)

Milwaukee, WI

JASMINE J. GONZALES (age 40)

Racine, WI

DEBRA J. URNESS (age 42)

Racine, WI

MARQUAN L. WASHINGTON, a.k.a. “MUNCH,” (age 30)

Racine, WI

MARIO M. JOHNSON, a.k.a. “RO,” a.k.a. “ROEGOTTI,” (age 33)

Racine, WI

ASHLEY M. WESTMORELAND (age 28)

Racine, WI

MICHAEL D. HARDIN, a.k.a. “MOJO,” (age 33)

Racine, WI

TERRY BRUMBY, JR., a.k.a. “T-NICE,” (age 32)

Racine, WI

CARL GRAYSON, a.k.a. “POPS,” (age 64)

Racine, WI

BRIAN L. PHILLIPS, a.k.a. “B,” a.k.a. “BRITTLE,” (age 33)

Racine, WI

MICHAEL A. WRIGHT, JR. (age 31)

Racine, WI

JERI L. BALDERAS (age 31)

Racine, WI

 

On the morning of October 20, 2021 , law enforcement personnel from the FBI, Racine Police Department, Racine County Sheriff’s Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Caledonia Police Department, Cudahy Police Department, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, North Central HIDTA, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service, simultaneously arrested 12 defendants in the greater Racine and Kenosha areas as well as the State of Tennessee, and executed 18 federal search warrants.

The search warrants resulted in the recovery of multiple firearms and controlled substances.  Two defendants were already in custody.  According to court records, the majority of the individuals arrested in this operation are alleged to be members of the Vice Lord and Gangster Disciple street gangs, who worked together to further their drug trafficking organization. 

“The indictment in this case and today’s arrests demonstrate the joint commitment of federal, state, and local law enforcement to combat drug trafficking activity by gang members and violent offenders and to improve the quality of life of residents throughout the district,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Frohling.

“We will continue to work collectively with all of our partners on the FBI Milwaukee Area Safe Streets Task Force (MASSTF),” said Special Agent in Charge Robert Hughes. “Utilizing joint resources creates the greatest impact in removing violent gangs, guns and drugs from our communities.”         

“This morning’s operation was the culmination of almost 12 months’ worth of investigative work between local, state and federal law enforcement officers to hold members of these two violent organizations accountable. The execution of arrest and search warrants was as close to flawless as any I’ve seen in my 19-year career,” said Racine Chief of Police Maurice A. Robinson. “It is important to note that the subjects named in the arrest warrants were taken into custody without any force being used. I am extremely grateful for all of the officers involved that made this such a successful operation.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by MASSTF, which is comprised of personnel from the FBI, Racine Police Department, Racine County Sheriff’s Office, Mount Pleasant Police Department, and Caledonia Police Department.

If convicted of the drug trafficking conspiracy, each defendant faces a minimum of ten years’ imprisonment with a maximum of life, a $10,000,000 fine, and between five years and life on supervised release.   In addition, Balderas is charged with structuring a financial transaction to avoid a reporting requirement and faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment if convicted of that charge.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Katie Halopka-Ivery and Bridget J. Schoenborn.  

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which time the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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For further information contact: Kenneth.Gales@usdoj.gov

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Updated October 21, 2021