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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Eighth And Final Defendant Sentenced In New Buffalo Cocaine Ring

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced that on September 12, 2022, the Honorable Paul L. Maloney, United States District Judge for the Western District of Michigan sentenced Adrian Romero Antunez (35), a Mexican national in the United States on a tourist visa, to 46 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute five (5) kilograms or more of cocaine.  Romero Antunez was the final defendant to be sentenced in a transnational and interstate cocaine ring that centered around New Buffalo, Michigan resident Ivan Huerta Hernandez (33).  Through conduits in Mexico, Huerta Hernandez was supplied by sources located in Chicago, Illinois, including Romero Antunez.  Huerta Hernandez then distributed cocaine to dealers in West Michigan and Northern Indiana. 

          On the morning of November 3, 2021, approximately 90 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed arrest warrants and six search warrants in four judicial districts: the Western District of Michigan, the Northern District of Indiana, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Central District of Illinois.  Investigators seized over 1.5 kilograms of cocaine.  Investigators also seized approximately $100,000 in cash, six vehicles, and two firearms.

          The men who have been convicted of felony charges are listed below: 

Name

Residence

Age

Sentence

Ivan Huerta Hernandez

New Buffalo, Michigan

33

87 months

Adrian Romero Antunez

Chicago, Illinois

35

46 months

Henry Shavar Nichols

Greenville, South Carolina

41

36 months

Marcus Jemel Johnson

Benton Harbor, Michigan

41

46 months

Juan Martinez Camarillo

Michigan City, Indiana

37

57 months

Donald James Rogers

New Buffalo, Michigan

62

12 months and 1 day

Manuel Eudave

La Porte, Indiana

54

Fine

Santiago Cardenas

Michigan City, Indiana

41

Probation and Fine

          For more information, please see the continuation in support of the criminal complaint available on the public docket.  United States v. Hernandez, et al., No. 21-MJ-551, ECF No. 1 (W.D. Mich.).   

          In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said, “The convictions and sentences in this case represent a significant victory against a transnational drug trafficking conspiracy.”  He continued: “My office is committed to combatting large-scale traffickers who bring these poisons to the Western District of Michigan.  This prosecution demonstrates the power of pooling the resources of federal, state, and local governments.  Drug trafficking organizations do not recognize political boundaries and we must continue to work together to combat drug trafficking organizations across Michigan, the Midwest, and the United States.”

          “An investigation like this can only be successful when law enforcement agencies at all levels work together to remove those who pollute local neighborhoods with dangerous drugs,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “This investigation effectively dismantled a transnational, interstate drug trafficking organization that set up operations in the New Buffalo area. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to rid the streets of these criminals and make our communities safer for all citizens.” 

          “This sentencing should serve as a reminder that along with our Federal, State and local law enforcement partners, DEA is dedicated to identifying, investigating and dismantling drug trafficking organizations who look to profit from the suffering of others,” said Orville Greene, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

          “The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is honored to partner with the FBI, DEA, and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that the residents of southwest Michigan and the entire United States are protected from individuals and organizations that are trying to harm our residents and citizens,” said Berrien County Sheriff, L. Paul Bailey.  “The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is proud of the hard work and dedication of all law enforcement personnel who took part in this investigation and brought it to a successful conclusion.”

          The case was investigated and prosecuted as part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that began in 2020 and has been led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Marshals Service (USMS),  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Michigan State Police’s Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET), Berrien County Sheriff’s Department (BCSD), Pokagon Band Tribal Police, Michigan City Police Department, La Porte City Police Department, and the Cook County Sheriff Department.

          OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

          Assistant United States Attorneys Vito S. Solitro and Daniel T. McGraw prosecuted the case. 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated September 13, 2022