Multiple Defendants Indicted in Large-Scale Drug Trafficking and International Money Laundering Conspiracies
ANCHORAGE, AK—U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that multiple indictments have been unsealed charging eight defendants in Texas, California, Arizona, and Alaska with conspiring to distribute large quantities of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine in Alaska and also working together to launder money from the United States into Mexico.
The first indictment charges two men—Omar Alejandro Alfaro and Jose Ramon Canales, of Texas, with conspiring to distribute approximately twelve kilograms of heroin and two pounds of methamphetamine that was ultimately destined for Alaska. It also charges Canales and a third individual, Genaro Gutierrez-Reyes, of California, with conspiring to transport drug proceeds from the United States to conspirators in Mexico.
The indictment outlines several separate drug transactions. According to the indictment, the first sales which occurred in person in Texas, consisted of a total of six kilograms of heroin and took place sometime prior to July 3, 2013. Conspirators later mailed three more kilograms of heroin from Texas to Alaska using Canales’s address. Investigators found these kilograms of heroin hidden in a storage unit here in Anchorage along with an additional nine kilograms of heroin and various packaging materials.
The conspirators also sold three kilograms of heroin and two pounds of methamphetamine to an Alaska undercover agent. Agents seized an additional two kilograms of heroin and two pounds of methamphetamine from conspirators during arrest operations in Texas late last week.
A second indictment charges four additional California and Arizona-based individuals—Tomas Gutierrez Ayala, Geronimo Arellano Velarde, Cristian Giovanni Lugo, and Jasmin Sanchez (who was previously known to investigators only as “Michelle”)—with conspiring to distribute large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine to Alaska. According to the indictment, in July 2013, Ayala possessed approximately ten pounds of methamphetamine. Around the same time, an Alaska-based conspirator traveled to California to purchase a large quantity of methamphetamine.
Further, according the indictment, the conspiracy continued in October 2013, when conspirators arranged to send approximately five kilograms of cocaine and five additional pounds of methamphetamine from California to Alaska. In two subsequent transactions, conspirators sold four and seven pounds of methamphetamine respectively to an Alaska undercover agent. In arresting the defendants, law enforcement seized an additional eight pounds of methamphetamine. Overall, the conspiracy was responsible for the distribution or attempted distribution of approximately five kilograms of cocaine and 34 pounds of methamphetamine.
The final indictment charges Timothy George Alex, 51, of Anchorage, with conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, as well as with one count of attempting to possess cocaine in February of this year. The indictment also seeks to forfeit approximately $70,000 in currency associated with Alex’s drug distribution activities.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Courter, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that all of the defendants except Alex face a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence on the drug charges, up to a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Alex faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, and a maximum 40 years’ imprisonment, for his participation. The international money laundering charge carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie C. Courter. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Anchorage Police Department (APD), the Alaska State Troopers (AST), and the Anchorage Airport Police Department. Additional assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Western District of Texas, the Eastern and Central Districts of California, and the District of Arizona, as well as federal agents in all three states.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the United States must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.