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July 8, 2021Milwaukee, WI, United StatesNarcotics

2 indicted for maritime drug trafficking offenses following ICE HSI probe

MILWAUKEE — Two defendants were charged with a count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and a count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

The investigation is led by law enforcement agents and officers from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigations,), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Milwaukee Police Department. United States Attorneys Robert J. Brady, Jr., and Gail Hoffman are prosecuting the case.

Acting United States Attorney Richard G. Frohling of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that on August 25, 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Herlin Hernandez-Trinidad (a/k/a “Rainely), and on January 26, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Jose Crespo-Lorenzo (a/k/a “El Colombiano”).

Both Hernandez-Trinidad and Crespo-Lorenzo were recently arrested in Puerto Rico and transferred to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to face prosecution in this district.

“These indictments demonstrate an extraordinary effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement to hold accountable those involved in international drug-trafficking activity designed to flood the streets of the United States and other parts of the world with harmful controlled substances,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Frohling.

“This indictment is a great example of what can be accomplished when federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies work in collaboration. HSI will continue its efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations like this one to keep our communities safe from the harmful effects of illicit drugs,” said Angie Salazar, special agent in charge, HSI Chicago.

“This investigation demonstrates the commitment of DEA and the involved partner agencies to pursue and disrupt the drug-trafficking organizations that are inflicting harm upon our communities with dangerous and illegal narcotics,” said DEA Wisconsin Assistant Special Agent in Charge John McGarry.

“This indictment is a great example of what can be accomplished when federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies work in collaboration. HSI will continue its efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations like this one to keep our communities safe from the harmful effects of illicit drugs,” said Angie Salazar, special agent in charge, HSI Chicago.

“Wisconsin DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation worked alongside federal and local law enforcement partners on this sweeping investigation into large-scale drug trafficking,” said Attorney General Kaul. “Thank you to the investigators whose work has led to the arrests of many alleged members of this drug trafficking conspiracy. Cases like this one disrupt the supply of dangerous drugs to communities and can make a real difference in the fight against the drug epidemic.”

Each count carries a mandatory ten-year term of imprisonment and up to life imprisonment. The defendants further face fines of up to $10,000,000, and from five years to a lifetime term of supervised release.

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

The indictments are the product of a multi-year investigation into international drug-trafficking activity, including maritime shipments of bulk quantities of cocaine that were ultimately intended to reach various locations within the continental United States (such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and elsewhere.

HSI is a directorate of ICE, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

To report a crime, call 866-347-2423 (TTY for hearing impaired: 802-872-6196) or visit the ICE Tip Line.

Updated: 07/14/2021