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Tucson Cocaine Distributors Sentenced

FEB 12 (TUCSON, Ariz.) – Joel Sesma-Garcia, 40, was sentenced on February 10, 2015, and Gerald Fidel Herrera, 41, was sentenced on Jan. 30, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Jennifer G. Zipps to 25 years and 15 years imprisonment, respectively, for their roles in a cocaine distribution ring that operated from 2008 to 2012 and spanned five states.  Both are from Tucson, Arizona.

Cocaine concealed within vehicles. Cocaine discovered within hidden vehicle compartment.

Between the Spring of 2008 and the arrests on August 9, 2012, Sesma-Garcia and Herrera conspired to distribute over 527 kilograms of cocaine from Tucson, Arizona, to co-conspirators in Brooklyn, New York; Muscle Shoals, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; and Bradenton, Florida.  The cocaine was transported from Tucson to the distribution cities concealed within false compartments in vehicles that were either driven by co-conspirators or hauled cross-country on commercial car haulers.  The co-conspirators in the distribution cities sent approximately $12 million in bulk cash back to Tucson as payment for the drugs, concealed within the same false compartments. Co-defendant Caleb Echeverria is pending sentencing on April 6, 2015, while 10 additional co-conspirators were arrested and prosecuted in New York, Alabama, and Arizona in connection with this criminal organization.

Investigators seized over $2.5 million in bulk cash and 17 firearms from the organization over the course of the conspiracy, during multiple traffic stops and search warrants in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maryland, New York, and Ohio.  The organization used drug proceeds to purchase dozens of vehicles to transport drugs and bulk cash, and for the personal use of Sesma-Garcia and his family.  Among the luxury vehicles seized from Sesma-Garcia include a 2002 Ferrari Spyder, a 2008 Lamborghini Murcielago, a 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo, a 2008 Mercedes Benz AMG luxury sedan, a 2005 Hummer H2, a classic 1968 Chevy Camaro, and a 2001 Chevy Corvette.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Tucson Strike Force, which is composed of agents and investigators from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,  Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Border Patrol, Tucson Police Department, South Tucson Police Department, and Sahuarita Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Mary Sue Feldmeier and Josh Ackerman, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.


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