Central Indiana man convicted in multi-million-dollar methamphetamine, cocaine ring

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A central Indiana man charged with running a multi-million-dollar cocaine and methamphetamine ring has been found guilty on multiple charges.

After a 10-day trial, Rafael Rojas-Reyes, 37, was convicted of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and distribution of methamphetamine.

According to U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler’s Office, Rojas-Reyes and three other men—Hector Saul Castro-Aguirre, 39, Nogales, Mexico; John Ramirez-Prado, 35, Houston, Texas; and Jose Manuel Carrillo-Tremillo, 41, Redding, Pa.—were part of the Sinoloa cartel based in Mexico.

The other three were convicted on charges ranging from money laundering to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.

Federal prosecutors described Rojas-Reyes as the ringleader of the cartel’s Indianapolis wing.

Members of the cartel smuggled the drugs across the border; Castro-Aguirre managed their transportation to Arizona and California so they could be transported to other U.S. cities, including Indianapolis; Lufkin, Texas; Reading, Pennsylvania; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Queens, New York; and Columbus, Ohio.

In Indianapolis, the group was responsible for distributing 200 pounds of meth and 20 kilograms of cocaine with a street value exceeding $9 million, prosecutors said.

On a national level, the group distributed some $40 million in cocaine and methamphetamine, according to Minkler’s office. During the investigation, officers seized more than 90 pounds of meth, 12 kilograms of cocaine and $2.5 million in cash.

Here’s the breakdown on charges for the defendants, who could spend the rest of their lives in prison:

  • Rojas-Reyes, 37, Indianapolis, was found guilty of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and distribution of methamphetamine.
  • Castro-Aguirre, 39, Nogales, Mexico, was found guilty of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
  • Ramirez-Prado, 35, Houston, Texas, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
  • Carrillo-Tremillo, 41, Redding, Pennsylvania, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

Sentencing hearings for Rojas-Reyes and Castro-Aguirre are scheduled for Jan. 10, 2019. Ramirez-Prado and Carrillo-Tremillo have sentencing hearings set for Jan. 11, 2019.