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Justice News

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Operation Smokin’ Bones Drug Conspirator Pleads Guilty

Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Ilian David Gomez Mathews (25, Orlando) today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, between November 2012 and November 2015, Mathews conspired with others to ship at least 15 kilograms of cocaine through the U.S. mail from Puerto Rico to Orange and Osceola counties for distribution. Mathews admitted to distributing the majority of the cocaine, which was typically between 500 grams and two kilograms per month. As part of the scheme, tens of thousands of dollars were transported as bulk cash back to Puerto Rico, to the cocaine supply source. 

In November 2015, federal and local law enforcement arrested five individuals, including Mathews, for drug trafficking, as part of Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking Task Force Operation “Smokin’ Bones.” Those individuals were indicted in December  2015. Mathews is the first defendant to plead guilty. The remaining individuals, Jose Javier Nieves Torres (45, Kissimmee); Dennis Rodriguez De Jesus (38, Kissimmee); Ramon Alberto Castro Ortega (26, St. Cloud); and Hector Manual Sanchez Garay (55, Orlando) are awaiting trial. 

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 Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Orlando Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Bishop Ravenel.

Drug Trafficking
Updated February 18, 2016