HAMMOND, Ind. – Two local brothers were sentenced last week and this week to lengthy prison sentences on drug trafficking and firearms charges. The sentences resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), DEA, and the Cook County Sheriff's Department.
Juan C. Ramirez-Fuentes, 32, and Jaimie Ramirez-Fuentes, 39, both of Hammond, were sentenced in the Northern District of Indiana for possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Juan Ramirez-Fuentes was sentenced Feb, 24 to 295 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release after being found guilty at trial in September. Jaimie Ramirez-Fuentes was sentenced Feb. 28 to 120 months imprisonment and five years of supervised release after pleading guilty in October.
On Aug. 23, 2010, HSI special agents, working in conjunction with investigators from the Cook County Sheriff's Department, conducted a consensual interview at the residence of Juan Ramirez-Fuentes. Juan Ramirez-Fuentes gave verbal and written consent to search his trailer. Agents found 27.2 grams of marijuana and two loaded handguns, ammunition, $10,340 in U.S. currency, three scales, and a shoebox that contained white residue that tested positive for cocaine.
Special agents then proceeded to speak with Juan's brother, Jaime Ramirez-Fuentes. Jaime Ramirez-Fuentes indicated that he was illegally in the United States and had illegal firearms at his home. He gave verbal and written consent to search his home. Inside his residence, HSI special agents seized over three kilograms of methamphetamine, two loaded firearms (one of which was stolen), ammunition, $2,647.12 in cash, plastic wrapping materials, one digital scale and drug packaging materials, from his bedroom. One of the loaded firearms had a rock of methamphetamine lying on top of it when special agents seized it.
Juan Ramirez-Fuentes admitted ownership of the marijuana and scales found in his home. Juan admitted to receiving the methamphetamine from a friend about three weeks prior to his arrest. He did not want to store the methamphetamine at his house for fear of being robbed, so he hid it at his brother's apartment instead. He also admitted hiding two guns at Jaime's apartment so that his brother would have protection. He admitted moving a kilogram of cocaine for the friend about one month before and delivering a bag containing $30,000 in payment.
Jaime Ramirez-Fuentes stated that he knowingly obtained two guns from his brother, Juan, who asked him to hold them for safekeeping about one year prior to their arrest. He admitted that the guns were loaded when he received them from Juan. He admitted to knowingly storing the methamphetamine found in his bedroom for Juan, who asked him to hold it for him about a month before their arrest.
"HSI vigilantly and aggressively investigates drug trafficking and the violence that goes along with this insidious crime," said Gary Hartwig, special agent in charge of HSI Chicago. "These prison sentences are a testament to that effort. We are committed to making our communities safer and will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to achieve that goal."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Chang-Adiga, Northern District of Indiana, prosecuted the case.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.