United States Attorney Announces The Federal Indictment Of Four Indianapolis Men On Heroin Charges
$100,000 worth of heroin destined for the streets of Indianapolis seized.
Hogsett describes U.S. Attorney’s Office continuing efforts to combat a resurgence
of heroin use in Hoosier communities.
INDIANAPOLIS – In the second major drug prosecution announcement in the past two days, United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett revealed the indictment of four Indianapolis men for their participation in a heroin drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated primarily in the Brightwood neighborhood on the Northeast side of Indianapolis. Charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin were:
Francisco Javier Perez-Garcia, a/k/a, Tio, 36;
Mario Vasquez, a/k/a, Minuto, 26;
Agustin Martinez-Acosta, a/k/a, Chukky 46, and
Jeronimo Lagunes, 27.
Perez-Garcia and Vasquez were also charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute methamphetamine.
“Heroin has become the scourge of our community in the past several years.” said Hogsett. “Few substances are more lethal right now. Heroin has no socio-economic or racial boundary and impacts every corner of our state. The heroin epidemic is blind to what tax bracket you happen to be in. We also are keenly aware that we can’t prosecute our way out of this problem. That is why we are redoubling efforts to bring all of our resources to bear on the root causes of these challenges.”
Search warrant affidavits allege Perez-Garcia operated a DTO at several locations in Brightwood neighborhood dealing large amounts of heroin since early 2013. His two accomplices, Vasquez and Martinez-Acosta worked closely with Perez-Garcia moving the heroin to retail dealer/customers. The affidavit further alleges heroin customers would call the “dispatch phone” at Perez-Garcia’s auto body shop at 2405 North Station Street to order the heroin. The three, along with other members of the DTO would routinely sell heroin from that location and others in the Brightwood area. It is believed the heroin shipments would come from unknown sources in Mexico, California and Houston.
Court documents allege the fourth defendant, Lagunes, was driving a Cadillac Escalade on Interstate 70 near Brownsburg on March 23, 2014, when he was stopped by the Brownsburg Police Department for a traffic violation. When interviewed by officers, his story did not match with a passenger in the vehicle concerning their origination point and destination of travel. Lagunes gave officers consent to search the vehicle and they found over a kilogram of heroin in a Gucci purse in the rear of the vehicle. The government further alleges the heroin was destined to the DTO for distribution on the Eastside of Indianapolis. The value of this heroin if distributed on the streets of Indianapolis would be approximately $100,000.00.
This indictment comes on the heels of a February 2014 trial of three Indianapolis men who were found guilty after a nine–day jury trial where defendants Brandon Lomax,. Demond Glover and Anthony Lomax were convicted of twenty criminal counts including conspiracy to possess and distribution of heroin as well as federal firearms charges. This DTO operated on the Westside of Indianapolis.
“The DEA is firmly committed to helping stem the tide of heroin use in Indiana,” said Dennis Wichern, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Indiana. “Our agency has increased heroin seizures by 320% from 2008-2013 and, we fully understand the severity of the epidemic in our communities.”
Heroin is made from morphine which is extracted from poppy plants. Typically the plants are grown in Asia, South America and Mexico and the heroin is then transported to the United States for illicit use. It is ingested by smoking, snorting or injecting directly into the veins of users. Heroin has become popular as opiate users find it more difficult and expensive to find prescription drugs. The devastating consequences of opiate addiction makes the user turn to a quicker and less expensive but often times deadly use of heroin.
To assist in this fight, Hogsett has directed federal prosecutors to work with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to aggressively investigate doctors who are operating high-volume “pill mill” practices. If they are found to have abused their prescription writing authority, they face potential state and federal prosecution, as well as the revocation of their medical licenses. He has also directed the Office to work with local authorities to seek federal funding for treatment and prevention efforts.
Other law enforcement partners who worked on the case include: the Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force, the Indiana State Police, the Internal Revenue Service, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Criminal Investigations Division and the Ohio State Patrol.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Brady and Assistant United States Attorney Doris Pryor, who are prosecuting the case for the government, all defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life, if convicted.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.