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Press Release

Thirteen Indicted for Interstate Drug Conspiracy Controlled from Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A 30-count federal indictment was unsealed charging 13 people with participating in a multi-state conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, a conspiracy which was controlled by an inmate inside an Ohio prison, law enforcement officials said.

Indicted are: Fernando Auces, 50, currently residing at Grafton Correctional Institution; Ricardo Morales-Almazan, 32, currently residing at FCI Big Spring in Texas; Alejandro Sanchez, 33, of Toledo; Roberto Agapito Vallejo-Becerra, 50, currently residing at East Hidalgo Detention Center in Texas; Alexander Gonzales, 38, currently residing at Southern Ohio Correctional Institution (Lucasville); Tammy Gibson, 40, of Akron; Javier Jimenez, 39, of Toledo; Noe Reyes, 33, currently residing at FCI Lucero in Alabama; Randy Koelblin, 39, of Cincinnati; Jasmine Reyes, 29, of Omaha, Neb.; Jenneth De La Rosa, 58, of Toledo; Daniel Ulis, 40, of Toledo and Anthony King, 41, currently residing at Ross Correctional Institution (Chillicothe).

All 13 people were indicted in Count 1 with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Auces, while an inmate at Allen Correctional Institute in Lima, Ohio, with the assistance of Almazan and others, 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 the indictment.

Between 2010 and 2014, Auces and others arranged for deliveries of large amounts of heroin to Ohio from suppliers in Indiana and Texas. He recruited friends and relatives, including Almazan, De La Rosa, Sanchez, Ulis, King, Jimenez and Koelblin to receive and distribute the heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to Cleveland, Toledo and elsewhere, according to the indictment.

Auces, as part of the conspiracy, agreed with Gonzales, an inmate at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, to share customers and drug suppliers. Auces arranged for Gonzales to distribute drugs to various locations throughout Ohio, including Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Dayton and Cincinnati, according to the indictment.

“This was a major interstate drug ring run from inside a prison cell,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Thanks to the hard work of our law enforcement partners those who were helping this drug trafficker from the outside will soon be joining him behind bars. We will continue to work together to reduce the supply of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.”

“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 this community," Marlon Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "These charges announced today are the culmination of an extensive multi-agency approach to combating drug trafficking organizations."

Counts 2 through 7 are substantive counts of distribution of methamphetamine or heroin. Counts 8 through 28 deal with the use of communication facility to facilitate a felony. Counts 29 and 30 deal with traveling interstate to distribute heroin. The indictment also seeks to forfeit $37,050 in cash seized from a storage locker in Toledo on April 4, 2014, according to the indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vasile C. Katsaros and Christian H. Stickan and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Tomaro of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office 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.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 18, 2015