INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Federal agents spent much of Tuesday with state and local agencies to bring down a drug trafficking organization linked to a drug cartel in Mexico.
They raided several homes in and around the Indianapolis area Tuesday in what officials called “Operation Code Red.”
According to Tim Horty with the US Attorney’s office, they were looking for guns, heroin and methamphetamine. United States Attorney Josh Minkler said 25 individuals will be charged at the state and federal level after Tuesday’s raid. He called the raid part of a drug trafficking conspiracy. Both men and women have been arrested.
Investigators recovered 19 pounds of methamphetamine as well as 16 guns, including a stolen Kel-tec 9 mm rifle, SKS 7.62 mm rifle, sawed off shotgun and several handguns, officials said.
More than 175 officers with federal, state and local agencies and six SWAT teams served 20 warrants around Indianapolis.
Officials say the investigation began in March when DEA agents learned of the drug conspiracy. They say those involved were bringing in a large amount of red methamphetamine and heroin into the area.
According to a release, two main players of the operation, Alfonso Pineda-Hernandez and Nicolas Cazares-Garcia, received large amounts of drugs from Mexico. The drugs were delivered to Indianapolis and redistributed.
The suspects involved used cellphones to communicate with Pineda-Hernandez and Cazares-Garcia and suppliers in Mexico.
On the 1100 block of Worcester Avenue near Southeastern Avenue and Emerson Avenue, four people were arrested.
Leeann Fall lives on Worcester Avenue. She woke up to quite a commotion Tuesday morning.
“We heard a loud boom and we weren’t sure what the noise was. It sounded like something had hit the back of our house,” said Fall.
It was the SWAT team, and police from local, state and federal agencies raiding her neighbor’s home.
“Panic, at that point, it was panic. It was fear. We have a lot of elderly people in the neighborhood. Is everybody okay? Did something happen to them?” wondered Fall.
But it wasn’t the elderly. Instead, the Department of Justice says four suspects were inside. Jose Trinidad-Garcia faces federal charges. Sisters, Jessica and Cassandra Crank and Andres Martinez face state charges. The DOJ has not said what those charges are.
“A lot of activity. There has been a lot of traffic through the area,” said Fall.
Authorities say they’re acting off of a tip they received in March. They say Alfonso Pineda-Hernandez and Nicholas Cazares-Garcia were the ring leaders who brought in red methamphetamine from Mexico and heroin locally. Investigators believe they passed on the drugs to distributors, and then subordinates did the drug dealing.
“If they’re here, get them out of here. Them and the hookers. If their hookers are here with them, get them out of here,” said Bob Sims, who lives nearby.
Through cell phones, the suspects stayed in contact, discussing availability, prices, and arranged for the delivery of drugs, officials say. They changed phones frequently and used different phone numbers to take care of business, investigators believe.
“It’s just one step closer to cleaning up the city. We have enough going on in this city. That’s just one more step,” said Fall.
Those arrested include:
Federal charges :
Nicolas Cazares-Garcia, 28
Aurelio Estrada-Alvarado, 20
Jose Trinidad- Garcia Jr., 32
Miguel Barragan-Lopez, 35
Mario Gomez-Cano, 20
Javier Sarabia-Gutierrez, 30
Fernando Paniagua, 22
Cynthia Vergara, 24
Francisa Vasquez-Casimiro, 45
Jose Araujo-Orduno, 18
Oswaldo Rendon, 22
Billy Buchanan, 20
Cassandra Crank, 24
Jessica Crank, 23
Zachary Daniels, 21
Raul Guitierrez, 29
Ronald Lee, 47
Andres Martinez, 30
Israel Vasquez, 27
Joseph Vasquez, 18
Investigators say they are still looking for four suspects involved in the drug cartel. Below are those suspects who are all from Indianapolis:
Frederico Gonzalez-Ortega, 31
Johnathon Perkinson, 24
Shannon Rayas, 42
Simon Ruiz, 24