Life Sentence Given to Head of Huge Multi-State Marijuana Trafficking Organization Based in Ohio
NOV 03 -- COLUMBUS –Rafael Hernandez-Carillo, 31, of Columbus, Ohio was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to life in prison for leading a marijuana trafficking network responsible for distributing more than 22 tons of marijuana between 2005 and 2008, earning more than $10 million a year from the operation.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced the sentence handed down today by Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Graham.
Judge Graham also ordered Hernandez Carillo to forfeit $263,956 in cash seized during the investigation, two pieces of real estate and 48 pieces of jewelry.
A jury convicted Hernandez-Carillo on September 17, 2009, of one count of operating a continuing criminal enterprise, and one count of trafficking more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
During the trial, witnesses testified that Hernandez-Carillo received large quantities of marijuana from Sonora, Mexico and that he was directly connected to Mexican drug cartels. After the marijuana arrived in Columbus, it was shipped to Dayton, Mansfield and Detroit for distribution.
Hernandez-Carillo was arrested on February 27, 2008. A search of his residence recovered more than $500,000 in jewelry and $230,811 in cash.
Others charged as part of the investigation have pleaded guilty to crimes for their role in the drug trafficking organization. Dae Won Lee pleaded guilty on August 8, 2008, to conspiracy and will be sentenced in December. Larry Ray Nelms pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced June 11, 2010, to 15 years imprisonment. Francisco Corella, plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced in July 2010, to 40 months imprisonment. Angel Luis Colon Padilla pleaded guilty in a related federal case in New Jersey and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Andre McGary of Cincinnati pleaded guilty on March 12, 2009, to one count of conspiracy. He was sentenced January 7, 2010, to five years’ imprisonment.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the DEA agents and Southwest Border Initiative Task Force officers, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney David Bosley, who prosecuted the case.