Three Mexican nationals indicted for distributing black tar heroin
A 24-count federal indictment was filed charging three Mexican nationals for conspiring to sell black tar heroin across Northern Ohio, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office.
Victor Morales-Garcia, 38, of Columbus, Mario Perez Sanchez, age unknown, and Pedro Ortega-Gomez, 36, both of Madison, Ohio, are charged with conspiring to sell black tar heroin in Lake, Cuyahoga, Erie and Huron counties.
The men had a base of customers from Huron County who travelled on a daily basis to purchase the heroin. Most of these sales took place between the far west suburbs of Cuyahoga County to Painesville in Lake County, according to court documents.
This group utilized numerous men to act as couriers as deliver the heroin to customers. Many of these couriers were brought illegally to the United States from the Nayarit/Tepic area of Mexico to the Painesville area with the promise of working on a farm or in an automobile garage. Once in Ohio, these individuals became couriers for the drug trafficking group, according to court documents.
On April 6, law enforcement officials stopped a car being driven by Gomez and discovered a large bag of heroin, all individually packaged in small balloons. Subsequent searches led to the discovery of a .22-caliber revolver, numerous wire transfer receipts showing thousands of dollars being wired to Mexico, drug ledgers and cash, according to court documents.
“This is a drug trafficking group whose tentacles spread from Mexico to all over Northern Ohio,” Dettelbach spread. “They preyed on people for profit.”
“These three defendants operated a revolving door distribution center of black tar heroin,” Anthony said. “This is another great example of the tireless, collaborative efforts by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force to take suppliers of dangerous narcotics off our streets. “
This case is the being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert F. Corts 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.