Drug Enforcement Administration

New Orleans

Stephen G. Azzam, Special Agent in Charge

May 18, 2018

Contact: SA Debbie Webber

Phone Number: (504) 840-1100

Last of nine defendants in conspiracy trafficking fentanyl, heroin, cocaine sentenced to 16 years in prison

(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) - Yesterday, a federal judge imposed a 16-year prison sentence on the last of nine defendants in a Birmingham-based conspiracy to distribute multiple kilograms of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine in Jefferson County in 2015 and 2016, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bret Hamilton and U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town. 

A U.S. District Judge sentenced Jose Agustin Gutierrez, 32, of Phoenix, Ariz., on the conspiracy count, one count of possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and one count of using a telephone to commit a drug-trafficking crime. Gutierrez pled guilty to the charges last year.

Throughout the investigation, agents seized 8.8 kilograms of cocaine that Gutierrez intended to deliver from Arizona, and 4.662 kilograms of pure fentanyl delivered from Mexico. 

“With this sentencing, DEA and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners have taken down an organization responsible for distributing large quantities of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine in the state of Alabama,” Hamilton said. “By removing this criminal from the street, he can no longer threaten the health and safety of our communities. We will continue to work together to target criminal organizations to ensure that drug traffickers are held responsible for the harm they cause."

“This defendant organized and delivered major quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine into the Northern District of Alabama from Arizona, and now he will spend the next 16 years behind bars,” Town said. “Thanks to the work of the DEA and other law enforcement partners, this is one drug conspiracy we have shut down, closing that pipeline of deadly drugs into Alabama and sending nine drug traffickers to prison.”

In April, the judge sentenced the leader of the conspiracy, Anthony Levy Ward, 37, of Chelsea, to 20 years and 10 months in prison. Ward had pled guilty to multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute at least a thousand grams of heroin or at least five kilograms of cocaine and two counts of attempted possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. He also pled guilty and was sentenced on multiple counts of using a telephone to commit a drug trafficking crime, one count of carrying a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

The amount of fentanyl trafficked in the conspiracy was about 7.1 kilograms, or more than 350,000 doses of the drug. 

Besides Ward and Gutierrez, other defendants convicted in the conspiracy are: Anthony Levy Alexander, 58, and Betty Levy Alexander, 51, Ward’s father and aunt, Ferlando Carmise Mims, 20, Onandas Carmece Beard, 20, and Corey Darnelle Haynes, 38, all of Birmingham, and Jesus Ubaldo Montoya, 24, and Marahai Ardizo Enriquez, 26, both of Phoenix. The sentences for those defendants range from two to 15 years. 

The DEA investigated the case in conjunction with the Birmingham and Hoover police departments and the U.S. Marshals Service. 

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.comwww.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.  

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