A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed today, charging 14 individuals with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. Joining McQuade in the announcement was Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation.
Erik Freeman of Belleville, Michigan, is charged as being the leader of the organization. Freeman is also charged with money laundering and with structuring financial transactions to evade currency reporting requirements. The Freeman drug trafficking organization is believed to be responsible for distributing more than 825 kilograms of cocaine and 380 pounds of marijuana in and around the Detroit Metropolitan area.
In addition to Freeman, arrested today were: Reymoyne Thornton, 38, of Detroit; Marvin J. Davis, 35, of Akron, Ohio; Anthony Lyles, 37, of Detroit; Changa-Oronde Lyles, 38, of Detroit; Brandon Scott, 30, of Detroit; Hector Santana, 49, of Chicago; Jose Bravo-Garcia, 32, of Chicago; Anthony R. Ramirez, 25, of Berwyn, Illinois; and Vanessa Gudino, 22, of Chicago. Also charged in the indictment are James Alvin Watts, 45, of Romulus; Apolinar Lucero, 30, of Detroit; Francisco Enriquez-Enriquez, 39, of Detroit; and Jose Ezequiel Enriquez-Enriquez, 36, of Detroit.
The indictment also charges criminal forfeiture against currency, motor vehicles, firearms, and ammunition, and seeks a forfeiture money judgment in excess of $27 million, which represents the value of the narcotics trafficked by the Freeman drug organization.
The United States Attorney's Office, the DEA, the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the Oakland Macomb Interdiction Team, Roseville Police Department, Dearborn Police Department, Ferndale Police Department, St. Clair Shores Police Department and other agencies all participated in the investigation.
"This investigation, which crossed multiple state lines, successfully dismantled a large scale drug trafficking organization responsible for the distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana onto the streets of our community,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Corso. “Thanks to the great cooperation from our law enforcement partners, not only have we halted this organization's illegal business, but we were able to hit them where it hurts the most, at their financial core."
U.S. Attorney McQuade commented that the investigation leading to the arrest of Erik Freeman and others reflects the finest in cooperation and teamwork between federal and local law enforcement agencies. McQuade praised the officers and agents involved saying, "The dedication and tireless efforts of the entire law enforcement team have today resulted in the arrest of members of a significant drug organization who subjected our neighborhoods to the devastation associated with narcotics trafficking."
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Freeman faces a minimum sentence of 10 years up to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted on all of the charges.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dawn Ison, Eric Doeh and Rita Foley.