OCT 22 (JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) – Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and Robert E. O’Neill, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, announced that on October 19, 2012, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan sentenced Jesus Tijerina Garza (54, Cadereyta, Nuevo Leon, Mexico) to 40 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. The court also ordered Garza to serve a ten-year term of supervised release, upon his release from prison, and to forfeit property located in Reddick, Florida, along with a Ford Explorer, both of which were used to facilitate the drug conspiracy. Garza pleaded guilty on March 6, 2012.
According to court documents and evidence presented during the sentencing hearing, Garza partnered with Domingo Rodriguez-Mederos to supply large shipments of cocaine, including regular loads of up to 100 kilograms of cocaine, to a network of Mexican distributors operating in the Ocala and Central Florida area. Garza purchased property in a remote area in Reddick in early 2007, to use as a location to facilitate this drug operation. During the drug conspiracy, which occurred between 2007 and the end of 2010, loads of cocaine were shipped via tractor trailer from Mexico and South Texas, to Reddick. From there, Garza supervised the distribution of the cocaine to a network of distributors working for himself and Rodriguez-Mederos. The significant loads of cocaine were provided to these distributors, including Garibaldi Perez Solorio (previously sentenced to 16 years and eight months in federal prison) and to other distributors, and to drug traffickers in central Florida, including Casey Keith Shuler (previously sentenced to 15 years in federal prison) and his brother Nathaniel Sherrard Shuler (previously sentenced to three years and 10 months in federal prison).
In late April 2010, DEA special agents and task force officers seized 9.5 kilograms of cocaine, which was eventually traced to Garza. During a subsequent search of Garza's property in Reddick, agents and task force officers located a Ford Explorer that contained an aftermarket hydraulic trap, which was used to conceal cocaine. The investigation also revealed a notebook that contained detailed information concerning monthly shipments of cocaine in 2010. Garza typically distributed approximately 100 kilograms of cocaine, collected the drug proceeds and sent portions of that money (normally about $2.7 million) back to Mexico. The cocaine supplied by Garza was distributed throughout Marion and Putnam counties, as well as Jacksonville.This case was investigated by the DEA Gainesville Resident Office. This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Sooner or Later. To date, Operation Sooner or Later has resulted in the indictment of 47 individuals, 41 of whom have been arrested. The 41 individuals arrested have all been convicted. Fifteen are still awaiting sentencing. They will be sentenced later this year. As a result of this Operation and investigation, $1.1 million in U.S. currency has been seized, along with more than $750,000 worth of real property, more than $200,000 worth of vehicles, and 45 firearms.