East Tennessee officials announce large cocaine bust - WKRN News 2

East Tennessee officials announce large cocaine distribution bust

Posted:

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Several agencies announced Thursday they have dismantled a large-scale cocaine trafficking organization and placed 21 people under arrest following a two-year investigation. 

According to the indictment, the value of the drugs trafficked by all defendants was at least $17.5 million.

A federal grand jury returned a 58-count indictment on December 3 against:

  • Jesus Hernandez, a.k.a. "Chucho," 31
  • Juan Julian Felipe, 26; Alfredo Casteneda, a.k.a. "Boludo," 20
  • Faustino Ramirez Ponciano, a.k.a. "El Toño," 18
  • Fernando Amayo Gonzalez, a.k.a. "Zeta," 26
  • Gonzalo Garcia Gines, a.k.a. "Puebla," 31
  • Felipe De Jesus Banales, a.k.a. "Guero," 29
  • Elder Vasquez, 34
  • Johnny Soto-Quintana, a.k.a. "Ponzoña," a.k.a. "Ponzi," 23
  • Nahun Oliva, a.k.a. "El Perro," 24
  • Gilberto Fuentes Dominguez, 27
  • Jesus Amustio Panoja, a.k.a. "Chuy," 21
  • Anael Anariba, a.k.a. "Guero," 35
  • Geyser Deleon, a.k.a. "Chiquilin," a.k.a. "Chaparo," 26
  • Jose Luis Aguilar, a.k.a. "Diego," 34
  • Gelber Deleon, a.k.a. "Tarzan," a.k.a. "Burro," 21
  • Justin Moore, 28
  • Malcolm Jones, 21
  • David Lamb, 23
  • Monty Cooper, 42
  • James Handly, a.k.a. "Flaco," 54

All 21 persons were residing in Knoxville at the time of their arrests. They were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, money laundering and gun charges.

Each individual appeared in court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and entered a plea of not guilty.

All are being held without bond pending trial, which has been set for February 11, 2014 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

The first county of the indictment alleges the members of the conspiracy are responsible for distributing in excess of five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine.

If convicted, each suspect faces a mandatory minimum prison term of 10 years up to life and a fine up to $10 million.

One defendant, Geyser Deleon, is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. If convicted, he faces a prison term of five years to life, which must be served consecutively with any other prison term. He would also face a fine of up to $250,000.

This indictment is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Department of Homeland Security – Immigration Customs Enforcement; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Alcoa Police Department; Clinton Police Department; Harriman Police Department; Knoxville Police Department; Maryville Police Department; Oak Ridge Police Department; Anderson County Sheriff's Office; Blount County Sheriff's Office; Knox County Sheriff's Department; Loudon County Sheriff's Department; Roane County Sheriff's Department; Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force; and Ninth Judicial District Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Stone and Brooklyn Sawyers will represent the United States.

Law enforcement's goal is to disrupt and dismantle the criminal enterprise.

"Our intent is to make sure these individuals do not develop a strong hold in our community and destroy the fabric of this community," said FBI Knoxville Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Moore.

Officials say the cocaine likely came from South America through Mexico. Information on the weapons has not yet been released.  Moore says the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

"Our message today for those who are involved in this activity is simple. You're next," said Moore.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...More >>
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...More >>
  • 38 dogs rescued in north Nashville dog fighting bust

    38 dogs rescued in north Nashville dog fighting bust

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:09 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:09:20 GMT
    A drug bust last week led to Tuesday’s seizure of 38 dogs from an alleged dog fighting ring in north Nashville.More >>
    A drug bust last week led to Tuesday’s seizure of 38 dogs from an alleged dog fighting ring in north Nashville.More >>
  • Giles County student injured, another charged in fight over gum

    Giles County student injured, another charged in fight over gum

    A Giles County middle school student is facing criminal charges and his classmate facial surgery after the two got into a fight over gum.More >>
    A Giles County middle school student is facing criminal charges and his classmate facial surgery after the two got into a fight over gum.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WKRN (Young Broadcasting station). All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.