Leader of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Organization with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison
BOSTON – Three individuals were charged today in connection with a drug trafficking conspiracy involving cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl and methamphetamine supplied by sources in Massachusetts and spanning into Maine.
Armani Minier-Tejada, a/k/a “Shotz” a/k/a “Gustavo,” 22, of Salem; Miguel Minier, 55, of Lynn; and Shelby Kleffman, 31, of Trenton, Maine, were charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances including cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl and methamphetamine. Minier-Tejada and Kleffman were additionally charged with one count of conspiracy to possess, use and carry firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking conspiracy. Minier-Tejada and Kleffman were arrested this morning in Maine and will make an initial appearance in federal court in Maine today. At a later date, Minier-Tejada and Kleffman will appear in federal court in Boston before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell. Minier remains wanted on the outstanding federal warrant.
As alleged in the charging documents, Minier-Tejada and Minier conspired to obtain large quantities of controlled substances, including cocaine, cocaine base, fentanyl and methamphetamine from Massachusetts suppliers and distribute them to contacts in Maine, who then distributed the controlled substances on a retail level. Members of the conspiracy also allegedly possessed numerous firearms, including at least one fully-automatic firearm with a “selector switch” that converts a semi-automatic firearm into a machinegun, in order to protect the drug trafficking operation and target rival drug trafficking operators.
As described in the charging documents, Minier-Tejada and Minier brought large quantities of controlled substances, including distinctive purple fentanyl, to sell to dealers in Maine who would in-turn resell the controlled substances for higher profits in Maine. Kleffman was one such Maine-based dealer who received large quantities of controlled substances from Minier-Tejada and Minier. Minier-Tejada and Minier also allegedly obtained rental vehicles and rental homes in Maine that served as distribution hubs for the conspiracy.
The charge of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to life of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of conspiring to possess, use and carry firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking conspiracy provides for a maximum sentence of life in prison because a machinegun was involved in the offense, five years of supervised release and fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Kelly D. Brady, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. Assistance was provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maine; Maine Drug Enforcement Agency; Essex County Sheriff’s Department; Lynn Police Department; Malden Police Department; Salem Police Department; Bangor (ME) Police Department; Hancock (ME) County Sheriff’s Department; Portland (ME) Police Department; and Westbrook (ME) Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Philip A. Mallard and Sarah Hoefle of Mendell’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit are prosecuting the case.
The operation was conducted by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. More information on the OCDETF program is available here: https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf/about-ocdetf.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.