Ohio inmate sentenced to federal prison for running multi-state drug distribution network from inside prison
The leader of a multi-state conspiracy that distributed heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine while he was an inmate inside an Ohio prison was sentenced to more than six years in prison, law enforcement officials said.
Fernando Auces, 52, was sentenced to 78 months in prison by U.S. District Judge James Gwin.
Auces, while an inmate at Allen Correctional Institute in Lima, Ohio, controlled a multi-state drug operation by communicating through a contraband cell phone with others outside the prison to arrange the delivery and sale of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, according to court documents.
Between 2010 and 2014, Auces and others arranged for deliveries of large amounts of heroin to Ohio from suppliers in Indiana and Texas. Auces recruited friends and relatives to receive and distribute the heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to Cleveland, Toledo and elsewhere, according to court documents.
Auces, as part of the conspiracy, agreed with an inmate at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, to share customers and drug suppliers. Auces arranged for Alexander Gonzales to distribute drugs to various locations throughout Ohio, including Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Dayton and Cincinnati, according to court documents.
“This defendant added more time onto his sentence, and the drug ring he ran from prison has been disrupted,” said Carole S. Rendon, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
“Refuge from law enforcement can't be found behind a prison wall,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office. “The Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force will continue to bring to justice drug dealers that distribute pois0n to our streets, no matter where they reside."
“Our collective enforcement efforts in this investigation have effectively shut down an operation that allegedly funneled copious amounts of illegal drugs into the community," Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "This sentence is the culmination of an extensive multi-agency approach to combating drug trafficking organizations."
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vasile C. Katsaros and Christian H. Stickan following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force. The NOLETF is a task force comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Division of Police, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the police departments of Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Lakewood, the Regional Transit Authority, Westlake and Shaker Heights. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiatives, which supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking in Ohio.