Louisville Man Charged With Transporting Minors Across State Lines With Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity
Louisville, KY – Three members of a large-scale, multi-drug trafficking conspiracy were recently sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy and for firearms offenses. Two were also sentenced for using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in murder.
U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky, Special Agent in Charge J. Todd Scott of the DEA Louisville Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI Louisville Field Office, Special Agent in Charge R. Shawn Morrow of the ATF Louisville Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Bryant Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel of the Louisville Metro Police Department, Sheriff John E. Aubrey Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Chief Richard Sanders of the Jeffersontown Police Department made the announcement.
Dwayne C. Castle, 49, of Louisville, was sentenced on May 19, 2023, to 30 years in prison, followed by a 20-year term of supervised release, for conspiring to distribute controlled substances to include heroin and methamphetamine and for use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in murder.
Javier H. Rodriguez, 32, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced on May 18, 2023, to 40 years in prison, followed by a lifetime term of supervised release, for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances to include heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana and for use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime resulting in murder.
Charles Orlando Cater, 47, of Louisville, was sentenced on April 11, 2023, to 21 years and 10 months in prison, followed by an 8-year term of supervised release, for conspiring to distribute controlled substances to include heroin and marijuana and for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
There is no parole in the federal system.
According to court records, Rodriguez was the leader and organizer of a sophisticated drug trafficking organization distributing kilogram amounts of controlled substances, including heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana, primarily in the Louisville Metro area. Castle was his “right-hand man” who operated multiple stash house locations storing and distributing controlled substances on behalf of the organization. Cater assisted the organization and primarily acted as a “bodyguard” for Rodriguez. On January 16, 2018, Rodriguez and his organization arranged the sale of a kilogram of heroin to individuals in the Victory Park neighborhood for $70,000. That sale, however, became a robbery and, following a shootout in broad daylight, the kilogram of heroin was stolen from Rodriguez, Castle, and Cater. In retribution for the stolen heroin, Rodriguez ordered the murder of Vincente Ramirez. On January 20, 2018, Rodriguez, Castle, and Cater all traveled together to a Newburg neighborhood where Ramirez was shot to death in his vehicle. Through a collaborative investigation between federal and state agencies lead by DEA and LMPD Homicide, Rodriguez, Castle, and Cater were all arrested on February 23, 2018, and subsequently federally indicted for drug trafficking and murder in furtherance of drug trafficking. At the time their arrests, Castle and Cater blamed the other as the actual shooter of Ramirez. On August 19, 2019, Castle, pursuant to a plea agreement, entered a guilty plea to all the indicted charges. On October 18, 2022, Rodriguez, without a plea agreement, entered a guilty plea to all the indicted charges. Following a nine-day jury trial in November 2022 Cater was convicted of the drug trafficking conspiracy and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon but acquitted of murder in furtherance of the conspiracy.
This case was investigated by the DEA, FBI, ATF, the IRS Criminal Investigation, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Jeffersontown Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mac Shannon and Rob Bonar prosecuted the case.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.