KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Twenty-six defendants were indicted on federal charges Friday for their alleged roles in one of the largest drug trafficking rings in the Kansas City area, which smuggled cocaine from Mexico street-valued at millions of dollars.
The indictments resulted from a joint investigation among the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.
In two separate but related cases, 26 individuals were indicted as part of "Operation Blockbuster," a multi-agency investigation into a drug-trafficking organization that was smuggling hundreds of kilograms of cocaine worth millions of dollars from Mexico to Kansas City, Mo. Both indictments were returned under seal June 11 by a federal grand jury. The indictments, which allege drug-trafficking conspiracies in operation since January 2007, were unsealed and made public June 12 upon the arrests and initial court appearances of several co-defendants.
"Operation Blockbuster is an ongoing investigation into what is alleged to be a significant drug-trafficking organization," said Matt J. Whitworth, acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. "Thanks to the hard work and cooperative effort of our law enforcement partners, we have seized large quantities of cocaine and marijuana, and millions of dollars in alleged drug proceeds. This successful operation dealt a significant blow to cocaine trafficking in the metropolitan area."
"This was an excellent example of teamwork among federal agencies," said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge James Gibbons of ICE's Office of Investigations in Chicago. "We work aggressively to ensure that drugs do not make it into our communities, and dismantle the criminal networks that profit from narcotics trafficking." Based in Chicago, Gibbons oversees a six-state area, including Kansas and Missouri.
The indictments allege that Alejandro S. Corredor, aka "Lou Lou," "Rolo," and "Alex," 34, a Colombian national residing in Kansas City, Mo., purchased large quantities of cocaine from Martin Gaspar Castaneda-Morales, also known as "Flaco," 35, of Juarez, Mexico. The cocaine was smuggled from Mexico and distributed in the Kansas City area. Conspirators then collected the proceeds of their narcotics sales and packaged the money for shipment back to Mexico to pay off drug debts and purchase more cocaine.
On Oct. 7, 2008, federal agents executed a search warrant at a Kansas City residence and recovered 46 bundles of cocaine and about $151,000. Also discovered was a drug ledger which allegedly showed that - during a four-month time period - more than 800 kilograms (1760 pounds) of cocaine was distributed, resulting in more than $10 million in drug proceeds. Additionally, a suitcase containing 13 bundles of cocaine was found in a closet bearing a Delta Airlines name tag with Corredor's name. A total of more than 83 kilograms (182 pounds) of cocaine was recovered.
The indictment also alleges attempts by Corredor and Castaneda-Morales to transport large sums of money from Kansas City to Mexico. Castaneda-Morales allegedly ordered a driver to meet Corredor in Kansas City and drive back to Mexico with money that Corredor owed to Castaneda-Morales for cocaine. A Toyota minivan driven by co-defendant Carlos I. Portillo, 34, a Mexican national residing in Kansas City, Kan., was stopped last month in Wichita, Kan., after leaving a Kansas City residence. ICE agents seized about 70 bundles of cash totaling $653,918 from the minivan.
On May 16, co-defendant Cesar Perez-Rodriguez, 44, a Mexican national, address unknown, allegedly acted as a courier for Castaneda-Morales and met Corredor at a Kansas City, Kan., hotel. Two days later, Perez-Rodriguez and other co-defendants were observed loading a white Kitchenware box into the luggage compartment of a bus bound for El Paso, Texas, at a bus stop in Topeka, Kan. While in El Paso, Perez-Rodriguez was stopped at the border and a vehicle in which he was riding was searched. Recovered from the vehicle were eight vacuum-sealed bundles of cash totaling $50,080 contained in the same white Kitchenware box.
DEA agents also seized $1.6 million from co-defendant Fernando Loya, 50, address unknown, on March 9. According to the indictment, agents were conducting surveillance at a Kansas City residence when they observed co-defendants Juan Rodriguez-Gonzales, 37, and Jose Carreon, 29, both citizens of Mexico; Charlie (last name and address unknown); and other unknown Hispanic males loading items into a Jeep Cherokee. The men took the door panels off the Jeep, placed items inside and then put the door panels back on the vehicle. The Jeep was driven away by Loya and later stopped by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in Cass County, Mo. A subsequent search of the Jeep and a Nissan that was being towed revealed 163 bundles of cash.
U.S. v. Corredor, et al
Corredor and his wife, Cindi M. Corredor, 28, a U.S. citizen; Vincent E. Charles, aka "Zeno" or "Z," 40; Adrian Dunn, aka "A.D.," 35; Roy D. Murray, aka "Wonderbread," 35; Danny R. Moore, 52; Cheo D. Miles, 36; Dennis Westbrook, aka "Westcrook," 30; Daoud L. Homes, aka "Bootsie," 30; Nicholas L. Lathen, aka "Sleeze," 23; and Sean Charles, aka "Slim," 25, all of Kansas City, Mo.; Terrance M. Harris, aka "T-Nutty," 23, of Independence, Mo.; Kendall L. Howard, 30, of Kansas City, Kan.; and Delondo Bellamy, aka "Lando," 43, of Oakland, Calif., were charged in a single-count indictment with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
U.S. v. Castaneda-Morales, et al
Castaneda-Morales; Arturo Gonzalez-Gonzalez, aka "Chango," 38, and Rafael Carranza-Vejar, 36, both Mexican nationals residing in Kansas City, Mo.; Portillo; Rodriguez-Gonzalez; Carreon; Perez-Rodriguez; Joel Guevara, aka "Bebe" or "Raul," 28; and Rene, aka "Tio" (age and last name unknown), all Mexican nationals whose addresses are unknown; Loya; and Charlie (last name, age and address unknown), were charged in a six-count indictment with participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. The indictment also charges Rodriguez-Gonzalez, Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Carranza-Vejar, Carreon and Loya with illegally entering the U.S.
The public is reminded that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph M. Marquez and Brent Venneman, Western District of Missouri, are prosecuting these cases.