News Release
March 27, 2007
Contact: Joanna Zoltay
Number: 312-886-2597

Luck Runs Out for Heroin Traffickers in Northwest Indiana

$10 heroin bags seized during Porter County heroin investigation
$10 heroin bags seized during Porter County heroin investigation

MAR 27 -- (Porter County, IN) Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago Field Division Gary G. Olenkiewicz along with the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Indiana announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted 12 individuals on heroin distribution charges.

The indictments stem from a long-term investigation conducted by DEA and the Porter County Sheriff’s Office, which has resulted in the arrest of 12 individuals to date. The indictment alleges that these individuals conspired in the Northern District of Indiana to distribute heroin from Chicago, Illinois into northwest Indiana and primarily into Porter County. In summary, residents of Porter County regularly traveled to communities such as Chicago Heights or Park Forest, Illinois to purchase bags of heroin. The heroin was then transported back to Porter County for resale.

“Today 12 heroin dealers have been brought to justice.” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division which covers Indiana. The success of this investigation is the result of outstanding teamwork and the partnerships between the DEA MerrillvilleTask Force, the Porter County, IN Sheriff’s Office, the Valparaiso Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office led by U.S. Attorney Joe Van Bokkelen.”

The following individuals were indicted on heroin distribution charges:

Jackie Hernandez, Park Forest, IL
Jacqueline Hernandez, Park Forest, IL
William Smith, Park Forest, IL
Keith Moeller, Steger, IL
Matt Bishop, Crown Point, IN
James Brown, Crown Point, IN
Djuro Chris Higi, III, Crown Point, IN
Mark Lurie, Crown Point, IN
Andy Foster, Valparaiso, IN
Robert Garner, Valparaiso, IN
Amber Shultz, Valparaiso, IN
A.J. Shultz, Valparaiso, IN

In addition, Matthew Bishop is charged with two counts of distribution of heroin, Jackie Hernandez with two counts of using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, Jacqueline Hernandez, his daughter, with one telephone count and Moeller and Smith with one telephone count each. The indictment also seeks forfeiture from Jackie Hernandez of all property used to commit or facilitate these offenses, including three automobiles.

All defendants were arrested over the past several days and have already, or are soon scheduled, to make their initial appearance before a United States Magistrate Judge in Hammond. The US Attorney’s Office has detained without bond, or is seeking to detain, six of these individuals: Jackie Hernandez, Jacquelyn Hernandez, James Brown, William Smith, Keith Moeller, and Djuro Chris Higi, III.

The indictment was the result of an extensive undercover investigation directed by the Drug Enforcement Administration - Merrillville Task Force Office comprised of DEA Agents and federally deputized officers from the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan City Police Department, the South Bend Police Department, the Elkhart City Police Department and the St. Joseph’s Sheriff’s office. The Park Forest, Illinois Police Department and the Valparaiso, IN Police Department also provided invaluable assistance in this investigation.