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September 14, 2016  
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: (313) 234-4310

Two Mexican Nationals Charged in Ohio after 200 Pounds of Cocaine Seized in Cleveland
Largest cocaine seizure in Northern Ohio in past 20 years

SEP 14 (CLEVELAND) – Two men from Mexico were charged in U.S. District Court after federal and state law enforcement personnel seized more than 200 pounds of cocaine in Cleveland on September 2nd, 2016.
Antonio Navarro-Gaytan and Alejandro Cota-Luna appeared in federal court on September 7th, 2016, and were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon said: “This is one of the largest cocaine seizures in Ohio in the past decade. Disrupting the flow of illegal drugs into our communities, and stopping the distribution of those drugs, continues to be DEA and our partners’ top priority.  A seizure of cocaine this large, should also serve as a reminder that cocaine is dangerous and deadly, and continues to be a major drug of abuse in our society.”  

“Taking more than 200 pounds of cocaine off the streets helps make our community safer and stronger,” U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon said. “The DEA, Cleveland Police and all the law enforcement agencies that worked on this case did an outstanding job.”

According to an affidavit filed today in federal court:

DEA agents received information on Sept. 2 that a semi tractor-trailer with California license plates was expected to come to the Cleveland area from the Baltimore area to deliver drugs or pick up money associated with drug dealing.

They located the tractor in a fenced lot at a large commercial building at 17877 St. Clair Ave.
Investigators observed a Nissan sedan occupied by the defendants pull into the parking lot of the building. The defendants then appeared to work on the trailer and then take items from the trunk of the Nissan and put them in the trailer.

Navarro-Gaytan and Cota-Luna then went to a nearby gas station, headed westbound on Interstate 90, where they were pulled over for speeding and eventually arrested. A subsequent search of the trailer 92 rectangular bricks, each containing approximately one kilogram of cocaine.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Duncan Brown following an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Cleveland Division of Police, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Cleveland Heights Police Department, Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Drug Unit, Lake County Narcotics Agency, Lorain County Drug Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations.

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