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Press Release

Fugitive Leader of Drug Trafficking Operation Sentenced to Thirty Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Cocaine into Southern Illinois

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – The ringleader of a Houston-based cocaine trafficking operation has been 
sentenced in the Southern District of Illinois to federal prison for conspiracy to distribute 
cocaine, bringing to a successful close an investigation and prosecution that spanned several 
states and more than five years. On Tuesday, June 21, 2022, Samuel Ruben Caraway, 46, was sentenced 
to 360  months  in  prison  and  five  years  of  supervised  release  for  his  role  in  a  drug  
trafficking conspiracy that resulted in the seizure of $1.2 million dollars in cash, $72,000 in 
jewelry, and several kilos of cocaine.

Caraway was captured in Texas in July 2021, after being a fugitive for more than three and a half 

An indictment filed on January 4, 2018, charged that Caraway was the leader of a Houston-based 
group  responsible  for  distributing  more  than  $4  million  dollars’  worth  of  cocaine  
throughout Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Georgia. Caraway and eight co-defendants were 
named in the indictment. The United States also seized $1,212,934 in U.S. currency, along with 
jewelry appraised at $72,000.

All the other defendants previously pleaded guilty, and Caraway was the last member of the group to 
be sentenced.  Each of his co-defendants  also  received significant prison sentences –  Victor 
Johnson (188 months), Sammy Monroe (168 months), Rodney Smith (147 months), Dana Bell (87 months), Nahum Shibeshi (48 months), Astin Allison (151 months), Terrance Miles (121 months) and Jamie Green (262 months) – after it was determined that they were responsible for trafficking approximately 120 kilos of cocaine into Southern Illinois.

This investigation was conducted as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force 
(OCDETF). The OCDETF initiative brings federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and 
resources together to identify, target and dismantle large national and international drug 
trafficking organizations.   The   investigation   was   conducted   by   agents   from   the   
Drug   Enforcement Administration.  The  case  was  prosecuted  by  Assistant  United  States  
Attorneys  Steven  D. Weinhoeft and David D. Dean.

Updated June 23, 2022

Drug Trafficking