18 Charged in Related Methamphetamine Conspiracies
Law Enforcement Seize Combined Total of Nearly 300 Gallons of Liquid Meth, More than 750 Pounds of Crystal Meth, 40 Firearms, and More Than $1 Million in Cash in All Related Cases Over Course of Two-Year Operation
OKLAHOMA CITY – Acting U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester, FBI Special Agent in Charge Melissa Godbold, OCPD Chief of Police Wade Gourley, and IRS Criminal Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Pearson jointly announce that earlier this week, more than 100 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed 15 search warrants and multiple arrest warrants throughout the Oklahoma City metro area targeting a drug trafficking organization distributing methamphetamine.
This operation was the culmination of a two-year joint state-wide investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Oklahoma City Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office. Between March 3 and March 4, 2021, a coordinated takedown was conducted that resulted in the arrest of 15 defendants and the seizure of nearly 200 gallons of liquid meth, more than 300 pounds of crystal meth, 25 firearms, and more than $100,000 in U.S. currency. Over the course of the entire two-year investigation of this drug trafficking organization, law enforcement seized a combined total of nearly 300 gallons of liquid meth, more than 750 pounds of crystal meth, 40 firearms, and more than $1,000,000 in cash in the cases announced today and all related cases.
According to affidavits filed in support of the first criminal complaint, OSCAR HERNANDEZ FLORES, 36, and LUCERO HERNANDEZ FLORES, 41, former residents of Oklahoma, have allegedly been directing the Hernandez Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, since at least January 2018. The charging documents also allege that the Hernandez DTO is responsible for the importation, transportation, and distribution of thousands of kilograms of meth per year in the Western District of Oklahoma and elsewhere, using contacts in Oklahoma to carry out the daily operations of the DTO. Allegedly, the organization earns millions of dollars a year in drug proceeds, most of which is ultimately transferred back down to Mexico, either through bulk cash smuggling or through third party wire transfers. The remaining defendants in this complaint can be found in the attached public filing.
According to affidavits filed in support of the second criminal complaint, IAN BASWELL, 46, and TERRY HAMMONS, 36, who were incarcerated at North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre, Oklahoma, are charged for their alleged furtherance of Hernandez DTO activities through drug distribution operations from the North Fork Correctional Center, utilizing contraband cellphones and non-incarcerated couriers. The remaining defendants in this complaint can be found in the attached public filing. Likewise, CHARLES MANSFIELD, 42, who is presently incarcerated at the Lawton Correctional Facility, and MATTHEW PERRY, 31, who is presently incarcerated at the Lexington Correctional Center, were also charged in the first complaint for their alleged part in distributing drugs imported by the Hernandez DTO from their respective correctional facilities, also through the use of contraband cellphones.
The complaints charge each defendant with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than 500 grams of meth. If convicted, each defendant faces a term of imprisonment of no less than ten years and up to life and a fine of up to $10,000,000.
"These charges are the result of tremendous effort, cooperation, and teamwork between law enforcement partners to protect our communities from illegal drugs that devastate communities across the State," said Acting U.S. Attorney Troester. "Specifically, I commend the leadership of the FBI, Oklahoma City Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation for their countless hours of hard work in bringing this investigation together."
"Cases that are this large and this complex require teamwork, and the results we achieved this week would not have been possible without the collaboration of the law enforcement agencies from throughout Oklahoma," said FBI SAC Godbold. "This partnership led to the arrests and seizures of drugs that will make our streets safter and our communities stronger. It is the type of cooperation that the public not only deserves, but has come to expect from law enforcement and I want to thank and congratulate our partners on this week’s safe and successful operation."
"The Oklahoma City Police Department appreciates the partnerships we have with our state and federal agencies," said OCPD Chief Gourley. "Public safety in Oklahoma City takes a considerable team effort. This investigation is a perfect example of how we work together to combat major crimes, which have a huge impact on the safety of our residents. Methamphetamine use and its associated criminal activity have a detrimental effect on our city and this operation will certainly make our community safer. Thank you to everyone involved for your continued support and dedication to the safety of Oklahoma City residents."
"This week’s arrests are an important victory for the American public. The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs," said IRS-CI SAC Pearson. "Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers cannot finance their organizations. The role of IRS-CI in narcotics investigations is to follow the money to financially disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. We are proud to provide our financial expertise as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice."
This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
These charges are the result of more than two years of state-wide investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation—Oklahoma City Field Office; the Oklahoma City Police Department; and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigations, with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, the Comanche County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lawton Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys David McCrary and Nick Coffey are prosecuting the case.
The public is reminded that these charges are merely allegations and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Reference is made to public filings for more information.