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Press Release

25 charged in drug trafficking organization

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
Operation Code Red seizes heroin, methamphetamine and firearms; latest example of law enforcement partnerships making a difference

Indianapolis--United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced federal and state charges against 25 individuals in a drug trafficking conspiracy that brought pound quantities of methamphetamine and heroin into the Indianapolis area.

“Criminal organizations have the goal of infecting neighborhoods with drugs, guns and violence,” said Minkler. “It is a top priority of federal law enforcement to work with state and local law enforcement to identify, investigate and eliminate those organizations. I want to assure this community that the elimination of armed drug trafficking organizations reduces violent crime in Marion County.” 

Six SWAT teams and approximately 175 federal, state and local law enforcement officials served 20 warrants all around Marion County early this morning. The raids netted over two pounds of heroin, 19 pounds of methamphetamine and 16 guns. (a stolen Kel-tec 9 mm rifle, SKS 7.62 mm rifle, sawed off shotgun and several handguns)

In March 2015, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) learned of a drug conspiracy bringing large quantities of red methamphetamine and heroin into the Indianapolis area. Alfonso Pineda-Hernandez and Nicolas Cazares-Garcia received large quantities of methamphetamine from sources in Mexico that were delivered to Indianapolis and then redistributed. They were also responsible for obtaining large quantities of heroin from local suppliers and redistributing the drug through subordinate distributors.

The defendants used cellular phones to maintain contact with one another during the conspiracy. Cazares-Garcia, Pineda-Hernandez and others, used cell phones to maintain contact with suppliers of controlled substances in Mexico. They discussed the availability and prices of methamphetamine and heroin, arranged for deliveries of the drugs and arranged for payment of drugs which had already been delivered. They used multiple cell phones simultaneously and changed phones frequently, using different numbers to communicate by voice and text.

“A big part of public safety depends upon the disruption and dismantlement of heroin drug-trafficking networks,” said Greg Westfall, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Drug trafficking organizations thrive on financial gain and perpetuate criminal violence in our city,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Stephen Boyd. “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed and determined to work together with our federal, state and local partners to bring justice to the streets of Indianapolis and keep the communities in which we live safe.” 

"Today, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) assisted with several drugs raids throughout Indianapolis. We, along with our federal, state and local partners, remain committed to rooting out violent crime and identifying those responsible for harm within our community,” said IMPD Chief Rick Hite. “This inter-agency cooperation has led to successful investigations and prosecutions in the past and sends a clear message. We stand together in our efforts and applaud the community for their tips and leads."

Arrested today include:

Federal Charges :

Alfonso-Pineda-Hernandez, a/k/a Flaco, 30

Nicolas Cazares-Garcia, a/k/a Niko, 28

Aurelio Estrada-Alvarado, a/ka/ Winn, 20

Jose Trinidad- Garcia Jr., 32

Miguel Barragan-Lopez, 35

Mario Gomez-Cano, 20

Javier Sarabia-Gutierrez, a/k/a Cholo, 30

Fernando Paniagua, 22

Cynthia Vergara, 24

Francisa Vasquez-Casimiro, 45



Jose Araujo-Orduno, a/k/a Cuervo , 18

Oswaldo Rendon, a/k/a Junior, 22


State Charges:

Billy Buchanan, 20, Indianapolis

Cassandra Crank, 24, Indianapolis

Jessica Crank, 23, Indianapolis

Zachary Daniels, 21, Indianapolis

Raul Guitierrez, 29, Indianapolis

Ronald Lee, 47, Indianapolis,

Andres Martinez, 30, Indianapolis

Isreal Vasquez, 27, Indianapolis

Joseph Vasquez, 18, Indianapolis


Still at Large:

Frederico Gonzalez-Ortega, 31, Indianapolis

Johnathon Perkinson, 24, Indianapolis

Shannon Rayas, 42, Indianapolis

Simon Ruiz, 24, Indianapolis


This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Marshal’s Service, Marion County Prosecutors Office, Indiana State Police, Hamilton County Drug Task Force, Carmel Police Department, Beech Grove Police Department, Pittsboro Police Department, Richmond Police Department, Bloomington Police Department and the Lawrence Police Department.   

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Lasher who is prosecuting this case for the government, most federal charges carry a sentence from ten years to life in prison, a $1,000,000 fine and years of supervised release.

An indictment is only a charge and not an indication of guilt. Each defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated November 17, 2015