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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Drug Trafficking Organization Dismantled, Leader Sentenced To 27 Years In Federal Prison

Tampa, Florida – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that 13 individuals have been sentenced in connection with their involvement in an international heroin distribution conspiracy. During this investigation, investigators seized approximately 6.5 kilograms of heroin, 9 firearms, and approximately $600,000 in drug proceeds.

According to court documents, during the course of the conspiracy, Felix Mejia Lagunas oversaw the importation of at least 30 kilograms of heroin into the United States from Mexico, and the subsequent transportation of the narcotics to Jesus Alberto Bermudez Caraballo in Orlando. Bermudez Caraballo provided a portion of the heroin to Jose Carlos Polanco Vasquez, Raul Vicente Espada Ortiz, and Deyvis Lee Echevarria for redistribution in the Orlando area. Angel Alexis Alicea transported the remaining amount of the heroin from Orlando to the Tampa Bay area where Jose Leonardo Jimenez, Jose Leonardo Jimenez, and Jose Antonio Crespo Negron mixed the narcotics with cutting agents, packaged it for distribution, and then provided the drugs to street level distributors Freddie, Resto, Juan Carlos Lopez, Robert Kelly, and Rachel Augustine Thomas. These street level distributors then sold the heroin in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and elsewhere.

Special Agent in Charge Eric W. Sporre of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office." “By combining federal, state and local resources, a major heroin trafficking ring was dismantled; removing large quantities of a dangerous drug off the streets.”

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, “The hard work of our partners at the federal, state and local level helped to bring these violent offenders to justice and get them off our streets. The sentences handed down should send a clear message to traffickers and help to make Florida safer.”         

 

“This is a perfect example of the kind of multi-agency teamwork necessary to dismantle these complex conspiracies and bring criminals to justice,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. “Our communities are safer today as a result of the work of this task force."

 

Name

Age, Residence

Term of Imprisonment

Felix Mejia Lagunas

42, California

27 years

Jose Leonardo Jimenez

29, Tampa

21 years, 10 months

Jose Carlos Polanco Vasquez

29, Orlando

12 years, 7 months

Jesus Alberto Bermudez Caraballo

29, Orlando

11 years, 3 months

Raul Vicente Espada Ortiz

40, Orlando

11 years, 3 months

Freddie Resto

59, Tampa

11 years, 3 months

Deyvis Lee Echevarria

30, Orlando

10 years, 1 month

Angel Alexis Alicea

29, Tampa

10 years, 1 month

Jose Angel Jimenez Villa

27, Tampa

10 years

Jose Antonio Crespo Negron

30, Tampa

10 years

Juan Carlos Lopez

34, Tampa

7 years

Robert Kelly

56, Tampa

4 years, 9 months

Rachel Augustine Thomas

56, St. Petersburg

2 years

These cases were investigated by a multi-agency task force through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). 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. Agencies involved in this OCDETF operation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. They were prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Updated February 2, 2018