News Release
Date: April 18, 2012
Contact: Mia Ro, PIO
Number: 954-660-4602

Members of Nationwide Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced
--Large Quantities of Cocaine, Meth, Marijuana Hidden in Luxury Cars, Distributed in Tampa Area--

APR 18 - (Tampa, FL) Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, and U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill, announced that U.S. District Judge William J. Castagna sentenced Pedro Lazaro Rodriguez, 28, of Seffner, Florida, to life in federal prison and Chester John Floyd, 49, of Lithia, Florida, to 25 years in federal prison for their participation in a nationwide drug trafficking and money laundering organization.

On January 30, 2012, a federal jury found Rodriguez and Floyd each guilty of conspiracy with intent to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine, 500 or more grams of methamphetamine, and a quantity of marijuana. Additionally, Rodriguez was found guilty of conspiring to launder drug proceeds, traveling in interstate commerce to distribute drug proceeds, and maintaining a premise for the purpose of storing and distributing illegal narcotics. Floyd was also found guilty of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

According to court documents, Floyd and Rodriguez were conspirators in a nationwide drug trafficking and money laundering organization stretching from Florida to California. As part of the conspiracy, large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana were shipped to various conspirators in the Tampa area via Federal Express, UPS, and hidden compartment inside luxury automobiles. Conspirators, including Floyd and Rodriguez, would receive narcotics on behalf of the organization and break them down for further distribution in the Tampa area. Rodriguez and other Tampa-based conspirators would also collect and conceal millions of dollars in drug proceeds that were either deposited into various bank accounts or transported back to California via commercial airlines.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other federal, state, and local agencies as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.