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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Grand jury indicts 18 in Mexico-to-Ohio heroin, money laundering & immigration document conspiracies

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal grand jury has charged 18 individuals in conspiracies to distribute kilogram quantities of heroin, launder money back to Mexico and run a fake immigration identification business.

The superseding indictment was returned here yesterday and 13 of the defendants were arrested in Central Ohio today. Custody will be sought for five defendants in California.

According to the 16-count indictment, Diego Ernesto Castaneda-Garcia was allegedly the leader of a drug trafficking organization that received imported heroin from Mexico, repackaged it into user quantities and sold it to heroin users in and around Central Ohio.

It was further a part of the alleged drug conspiracy that defendants would arrange for workers to be smuggled into the United States from Mexico for arrival in Central Ohio to distribute heroin.

Co-conspirators allegedly packaged heroin into foil balls called “fechas” – which roughly translates to “coins” in English – containing 1/10th of a gram of narcotics. Heroin was sold to users in public parking lots by “runners” who charged $100 for a group of 15 coins.

The indictment details that one co-conspirator would act as a dispatcher taking calls and coordinating runners. Other defendants would arrange for apartments to rent for the runners to live in and purchase vehicles for runners. Other co-conspirators would create fake identification documents for the workers, including drivers licenses, permanent resident alien cards and Social Security cards. It was also a part of the alleged drug conspiracy that individuals would register automobiles and license tags in false names or in the name of a U.S. citizen in order to avoid the attention of law enforcement.

Defendants allegedly wired money on multiple occasions from storefronts in Columbus to Nayarit, Mexico.

 

“Special Agents with HSI and our local, state and federal partners have once again taken down a sophisticated international drug trafficking operation, suspected of untold harm in our community,” said Vance Callander, special agent in charge of HSI for Michigan and Ohio. “This organization went to great lengths to conceal their activities from law enforcement. However, today’s arrests demonstrate that HSI and our partners will be unyielding in our efforts to take down those who seek to profit from poisoning our community.” 

“Drug dealers that distribute heroin run complex trafficking operations, concealing their crimes in attempts to evade justice – until they are overwhelmed by law enforcement fighting back to protect our communities,” Ohio Attorney General Yost said. “I’m proud of the work done by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations and our partners in this operation.”  

According to the indictment, a group associated with the drug traffickers was involved in the business of creating fake identification documents. This was for members of the drug trafficking group as well as members of the public who were purchasing driver’s licenses, lawful permanent resident cards and U.S. Social Security cards. The business was called “Chilango’s Perfumes” and perfumes was allegedly used as a code word for fake documents. Customers allegedly paid $120 for a “full set” – a Social Security card and resident alien card.

For example, Julia Martinez-Alvarez received a phone call from a Spanish-speaking female on August 15 who said, “I was calling you because I wanted perfume.”

Martinez-Alvarez allegedly responded, “Of course. To place your order, I need a frontal photo, with the hair up, no earrings, no glasses. Send me the photo, name, date of birth and nationality…”

 

Those charged include:

Name

Also Known As

Victor Daniel Torres-Lopez

 

Diego Ernesto Castaneda-Garcia

Neto, Mariachi, El Musican, Jorge Alonso Casillas-Guillen, Jose Alberto Carbajal, Sergio Castaneda-Garcia, Jose Salas Carbajal, Oscar Silva-Santiago

Angel Moises Castaneda-Garcia

Moi, Moises

Jose Narciso Acuna-Zepeda

Chucky

Javier Eduardo Acuna-Zepeda

Lalo, Guaranieve, Huijolo

Omar Fernando Chavez-Andrade

Contador

Julia Martinez-Alvarez

Sandra Rodriguez-Rosa, Sandra Yvette Rodrigruez-Rosa, Julie Martinez-Albarado, Lusero Gonzales, Lori Michelle Willet, Emma Gonzalez

Jennifer Esmeralda Rodriguez-Martinez

 

Tonie Michelle Rondrekia Scott

 

Michael P. Uccello

 

Serena Esclante

 

Delander Edward Moore, Jr.

 

Luis Enrique Diaz-Castillo

 

Chaz A. Holland

 

Tesla M Yant

 

Juan Manuel Alfaro-Alvarez

Manuel

Adriana Gabriela Salazar-Martinez

 

Maria Esther Rosario

Maria Jorge, Dember O. Hernandez, Pablo Tadeo Salgado, Maria Gabriela Ramos Martinez

Charged in heroin conspiracy punishable by up to life in prison.

Conspiring to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin is a federal crime punishable by up to life prison. Laundering and conspiring to launder money, conspiring to create and creating fraudulent identification documents are each crimes punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement, both in investigating this case and executing multiple arrests today.

Those agencies include:

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

Delaware County Sheriff’s Office

Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI)

IRS Criminal Investigation

Dublin Police Department

Ohio State Highway Patrol

Westerville Police Department

Delaware Police Department

Ohio National Guard Counter Drug Task Force

U.S. Border Patrol

United States Marshals Service

Columbus Division of Police

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Unit

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations

 

Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy D. Prichard and Special Assistant United States Attorney Roger Dinh are prosecuting the case.

An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Immigration
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated September 27, 2019