Four Indicted For Conspiring To Distribute More Than Two Kilograms Of Heroin In Manatee County
Tampa, FL – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Rafael Sanchez (30, Palmetto), Jerome Miller (29, Bradenton), James McClinton (39, Orlando), and Jose Venegas (23, Dade City) with conspiring to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin. If convicted on all counts, each faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to life, in federal prison. The indictment also notifies the defendants that the United States intends to forfeit assets and property that are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense.
According to court documents, special agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at a house in Dade City, where the defendants were involved in converting pure heroin for street distribution in Manatee County. During the search, agents recovered approximately 1,400 grams of pure heroin and over 900 grams of cutting agents that were to be added to the pure heroin, for a total of more than two kilograms of distributable heroin. Agents also seized approximately two ounces of methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and a handgun.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in collaboration with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Baeza and Greg Nolan.
This case is the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) investigation. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.