U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada
(702) 388-6336
October 6, 2015

Five Persons Charged with Heroin Trafficking

LAS VEGAS, NV—Federal charges have been filed against four men and one woman alleging they are part of a large-scale heroin trafficking organization that operated in the Las Vegas area since December 2014, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.

Juan Almeda-Vazquez, 27, Maria Landin-Hernandez, 28, Rafael Cruz-Rodriguez, 41, Fausto Cruz-Ochoa, 22, and Julian Cruz-Flores, 24, all of Las Vegas, are charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin. All of the defendants except Cruz-Rodriguez, who is in state custody on unrelated charges, were arrested yesterday by federal agents and made an initial appearance in court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy J. Koppe. They were detained pending a preliminary hearing on Oct. 20.

A criminal complaint alleges that the defendants are involved in large-scale sales, transportation and distribution of heroin and other controlled substances in the Las Vegas area. Almeda-Vazquez is the leader of the organization, and the other four defendants are narcotics runners. Between December 2014 and Oct. 5, 2015, they allegedly distributed about 1.5 kilograms of heroin in Las Vegas. DEA undercover officers made multiple controlled purchases of heroin from the defendants, and also seized approximately ½ kilogram of heroin, several hundred small balloons and rubber bands, and over $5,000 in cash during a search of an apartment in Las Vegas where two of the defendants were arrested on Oct. 5.

The case is being investigated by a DEA-led task force consisting of agents, officers and detectives from the DEA, FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and North Las Vegas Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amber M. Craig.

The public is reminded that a criminal complaint is a preliminary charging document and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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