Major Drug Traffickers Convicted at Trial
United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that a federal jury has convicted two members of a drug trafficking network operating in the Baton Rouge area. OSCAR MACHADO-GALEANA, age 31, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, allegedly tied to the Sinaloan Cartel in Mexico, was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering, and firearm violation. Late afternoon, October 4, 2018, after a 9 day trial, the jury unanimously returned guilty verdicts of guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana; conspiracy to launder monetary instruments; distribution of methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The jury convicted his co-defendant, ROY MARTIN HERRARA-ROMERO of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.
As the evidence at trial demonstrated, MACHADO-GALEANA obtained pounds of methamphetamine as well as a quantity of heroin from a source operating in Lafayette, Louisiana, as well as pounds of marijuana from a source in northern California. Machado-Galeana, with the assistance of Alexander P. Nava, distributed methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana to various dealers in the Baton Rouge and Laplace, Louisiana areas. Machado-Galeana used a nominee to purchase cashier’s checks and forward those to his marijuana supplier in California. In some instances, Nava and Machado-Galeana carried firearms with them when delivering methamphetamine to dealers and picking up the payments for those controlled substances. On March 18, 2015, during the execution of a search warrant at a storage unit at 13822 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA, near the premises where HERRARA-ROMERO resided, law enforcement officers seized approximately 18 pounds of high-grade methamphetamine. Law enforcement agents executed a search warrant that day also upon Herrera-Romero’s residence at 13822 Florida Blvd., Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they found triple beam and digital scales, a. 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and an amount of marijuana. That same morning, officers executed a search warrant at Machado-Galeana’s residence at 11634 W. Sherwood Avenue, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they seized a number of firearms, methamphetamine, and marijuana.
MACHADO-GALEANA faces a sentence of not less than fifteen years and up to life imprisonment. HERRERA-ROMERO faces a penalty of up to five years imprisonment.
United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin stated, “These convictions are another step in fulfilling our commitment to stand up to the threat of drug dealers and drug trafficking organizations who deal dangerous substances on our streets. As our Nation continues this fight we will work in lock step with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to ensure drug dealers, like those convicted in this case, are taken out of our communities and sent to federal prison. This indictment and conviction should send a message to those who commit crime in our district… We will be patient. We will be methodical - and we will be successful.” U.S. Attorney Fremin also said, “This was truly a collaborative effort. I am extremely proud of the outstanding work by our prosecutors and staff and the many federal, state and local partners who made the investigation, prosecution and conviction possible.”
“The successful prosecution of the members of this drug trafficking organization should be a warning to others who engage in this type of activity,” stated DEA Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Arnett. “By removing these criminals from the streets, they can no longer distribute this toxic poison to our communities. This case highlights the impact multiple agencies can have when they join forces. We will continue to work together and pursue those who threaten our communities through the smuggling and distribution of illegal and dangerous drugs and bring them to justice. This investigation is a compelling example of that success."
This operation is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Baton Rouge City Police Department, the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert W. Piedrahita, Peter Smyczek and Elizabeth White.
The investigation is another effort by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program which was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack against organized drug traffickers. Today, the OCDETF Program is the centerpiece of the United States Attorney General’s drug strategy to reduce the availability of drugs by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises. The OCDETF Program operates nationwide and combines the resources and unique expertise of numerous federal, state, and local agencies in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.