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News Release [print-friendly page]
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977
October 13, 2005

Major Cocaine, Meth and
Money Laundering Organization Dismantled
More than 592 Kilos of Cocaine and over $8 Million in Cash Seized

OCT 13-- (Atlanta, GA) –U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Karen P. Tandy today announced the culmination of the first phase of Operation Long Wine. This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, coordinated by DEA’s Special Operations Division, targeted a major methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking organization, and thus far has resulted in the arrest of 28 individuals, the seizure of over $8 million dollars in U.S. Currency, 40 lbs. of “Ice” methamphetamine and over 592 kilos of cocaine. Operation Long Wine marks the second round of success in DEA’s “Money Trail Initiative,” an innovative financial crime strategy that attacks the financing of the illegal drug trade in order to dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.

On October 12, 2005, the DEA’s Atlanta Strike Force Group One executed 16 federal search warrants, resulting in the dismantling of a significant, Mexico based, drug trafficking organization (DTO) known to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine to many major cities in the U.S. During the course of these warrants, a meth “Ice” conversation lab was found by the DEA with more than 2 lbs. of processed “Ice” methamphetamine. The individuals arrested today are charged in federal court with distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine and conspiracy.

“For drug traffickers, it’s all about the money. To decimate the drug trade, we are following drug money back to its source, targeting the laundering networks, and eliminating the profits that fuel drug trafficking gangs. DEA will continue to pursue investigations like Operation Long Wine, taking apart drug cartels by bankrupting them,” said Administrator Tandy.

Based on information discovered during the course of the investigation, the Atlanta-based cell of the Mexican DTO is alleged to have trafficked hundreds of kilos of cocaine and pounds of methamphetamine into the United States. They are also alleged to have laundered millions of dollars of proceeds from the trafficking of these drugs, often attempting to transport the laundered money by smuggling it in vehicles back into Mexico to fund their criminal enterprise.

The investigation identified an individual known only as “GOTTI” to law enforcement, as the leader of a Metro Atlanta-based cell of this drug trafficking organization, responsible for managing the distribution of drugs and the collection of drug proceeds. GOTTI allegedly coordinated the receipt and distribution of drugs from Mexico to Atlanta. GOTTI also coordinated the collection and shipment of drug proceeds from cities along the East Coast to Atlanta, and then back to Mexico. The organization is alleged to have transported more than 100 kilograms of cocaine per week, often using smaller shipments in order to minimize the impact of law enforcement seizures. The operations utilized car carriers hauling vehicles with false compartments filled with drugs, and at least in one instance, used a tractor trailer hauling pork shoulders and other livestock portions to conceal large quantities of cash.

The following 22 defendants were charged in the indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on October 11, 2005: FNU LNU (first name unknown and last name unknown) a/k/a “GOTTI;” FNU LNU, a/k/a “JAIME;” FNU LNU, a/k/a “LICENCIADO” and “GORDO;” LUIS ANTONIO RAMIREZ CARDENAS, a/k/a “TONO” and “GORDITO;” FNU LNU, a/k/a “SERGIO 1” and “ENGINERO;” FNU LNU, a/k/a, “SERGIO 2" and “EL SOBRINO;” FNU LNU, a/k/a “WILLY;” FNU LNU, a/k/a “SOPE;” YOLANDA BOJORQUEZ, a/k/a/ “YOLI;” MARCO AURELIO DELEON, a/k/a “GORDITO;” HECTOR MANUEL VILLAFORTE BARRIENTOS; EDGAR DELACRUZ CASWED; KEVIN ROBINSON; FNU LNU, a/k/a “ANDY;” FNU LNU, a/k/a “CHILE;” JUAN ARTURO NAMUR-MONTALVO, a/k/a "CAULIFLOWER;" FERNANDO ROSALES BONILLA; FNU LNU, a/k/a CHEJO; FNU LNU, a/k/a “JOSE ALFREDO;” BRYANT RODRIGUEZ; ANA MARIE ORREGO; and KEVIN FRANKLIN. 11 individual defendants were charged in criminal complaints filed on October 12 th-13 th2005. Five individuals indicted are still fugitives from the law.

Approximately 200 law enforcement officers participated in this OCDETF operation, including officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Marshals Service; Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives (ATF); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and a number of local law enforcement agencies. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia.



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