Drug Enforcement Administration

Chicago

Brian M. McKnight, Special Agent in Charge

October 23, 2014

Contact: Special Agent Sharon Santiago

Phone Number: (312) 353-7875

Eight Defendants Charged With Heroin And Cocaine Trafficking And Murder For Hire

CHICAGO - ― Dennis Wichern, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which includes Wisconsin, and United States Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that a federal grand jury recently returned an 11count indictment charging eight defendants with various drug-trafficking offenses, including conspiracy to distribute at least one kilogram or more of heroin, and charging one defendant with murder for hire.  The defendants are identified as Jose Ponce de Leon, 29; Yandi Ponce de Leon, 30; Carlos Cornier-Nazario, 28; Louis Rodriguez-Ramirez, 29; Luis Rivera-Corales, 22; Mayra Johanna Palermo-Rodriguez,29; Julio Ponce de Leon, 34; and Alex Cornier-Torres, 28. All of the defendants are residents of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The defendants are charged in the following counts:

This long-term investigation revealed that the defendants were involved in a drug trafficking organization lead by Jose Ponce de Leon that distributed at least one kilogram of heroin as well as large quantities of cocaine in and around the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area.  The investigation included court-authorized interception of wire communications to and from Yandi Ponce de Leon’s telephone, which lead to the interception of wire communications regarding the murder for hire.

The defendants were charged after a long-term investigation lead by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, in conjunction with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation, the Wisconsin High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Milwaukee Police Department, Oak Creek Police Department, Cudahy Police Department, and West Allis Police Department. This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura S. Kwaterski.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The public is encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s websites at www.dea.gov and www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov.

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