News Release
April 23, 2008
Contact: Joanna Zoltay
Number: 312-886-2597

4 Arrested, $350K Seized During Indiana Drug Raid

APR 23 -- (Hammond, IN) – Approximately $350,000 in U.S. Currency has been seized from four individuals that have been arrested and charged federally in the Northern District of Indiana on alleged drug conspiracy charges. The United States Attorney’s Office in Hammond, Indiana charged the defendants by way of criminal complaint.

U.S. Currency seized from alleged drug trafficking organization.
U.S. Currency seized from alleged drug trafficking organization.

The complaints charged Ramiro Meraz, 39, of Highland, Indiana; Olga Lucia Kubas, 40 of Chicago, Illinois; Javier Rodriguez, 40 of Laredo, Texas and Rafael Contreras, 33, of Chicago Illinois with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The complaints charge Meraz, Kubas and Rodriguez with conspiring between March 1, 2008 and April 18, 2008. The complaint also charges Contreras with conspiring between April 17, 2008 and April 18, 2008.

The joint law enforcement investigation was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force which includes the Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Griffith, Hammond, Merrillville, Munster, Schererville Police Departments, and the DEA. The complaints state that Meraz, Kubas and Rodriguez, were arrested while allegedly attempting to purchase thirty kilograms of cocaine. Search warrants executed subsequent to the arrest of Meraz, Kubas and Rodriguez, led to the seizure of $254,969 from the three subjects. Rafael Contreras was arrested while allegedly attempting to purchase five kilograms of cocaine. Investigators seized an additional $97,000 during the arrest of Contreras.

“This investigation is just another outstanding example of the teamwork and the expertise of the agents and detectives on the HIDTA Drug Task Force,” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Chicago Field Division which covers Indiana. “I especially want to thank the East Chicago and Hammond Police Departments, as well as the United States Attorney’s Office, for their leadership and support on this case. The seized funds from this investigation, if forfeited, will be shared with the participating police agencies to be used for law enforcement purposes in their communities.”

Prosecution of this investigation is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney David J. Nozick.

The specific sentence in each case to be imposed upon conviction will be determined by a federal judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. If convicted, the defendants face not less than 10 years and up to life in prison.

The public is reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial or by a guilty plea.