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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Grove City Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Heroin and Money Laundering

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Roman Hernandez, 39, of Grove City, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to possession with the intent to distribute heroin and to one count of money laundering. The plea agreement calls for a total custodial sentence of between 51 and 63 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, Marlon V. Miller, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott and other members of Central Ohio HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Drug Task Force announced the guilty plea entered before Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Graham. The HIDTA Task Force is operated as part of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.

According to court documents, this joint investigation revealed through surveillance, financial records, cooperating witnesses, and other investigative techniques, that between March 2013 and April 2013 Hernandez was involved in the sale of heroin.

On April 9, 2013 a search warrant was executed at 3260 Norwood Street, Columbus, Ohio. This was a home being rented by Hernandez and his girlfriend.

Before the search warrant was executed, Hernandez was observed driving away from the residence in his Cadillac Escalade. The vehicle was stopped by law enforcement and Hernandez admitted that between January 2013 and April 9, 2013 he had possessed with intent to distribute and distributed heroin. He acknowledged that proceeds from the sale of heroin would be located at his residence at 3260 Norwood Street, Columbus, Ohio.

During the course of the search warrant investigators seized in excess of $55,000 in U.S. currency. Investigators also found financial records and closing documents where Hernandez and his girlfriend had purchased a piece of real property located at 4870 Manitoba Road, Columbus, Ohio on April 2, 2013 for $70,000. The property had been purchased with cash.

Hernandez’s portion of the purchase price was $26,000. The funds had been withdrawn from his checking account in the form of a cashier’s check.  The investigation documented that the funds used by Hernandez to purchase the property at 4870 Manitoba Road were proceeds he derived from sale of narcotics.

In addition, Hernandez agreed to forfeit a Cobra, Model M-11, 9mm handgun and a Sig Sauer, Model P250, 9mm handgun.

“The harm inflicted by heroin is matched only by the profit potential for those who sell it. Today’s guilty plea is the culmination of a lengthy effort in which IRS-CI worked with its law enforcement partners to disrupt the flow of money -- the lifeblood that allows drug dealers to proliferate,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “This is an important victory for the citizens of Central Ohio. This individual not only fueled the drug problem in Central Ohio, but he supported addiction in several parts of the country.”

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the Central Ohio HIDTA Task Force, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Prichard, who is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated October 19, 2016