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Whom to call
•Anyone with information about the whereabouts of either Manuel Herrera or Darwin Altamirano is asked to call the Fort Wayne office of the FBI at 260-426-5331.

FBI raids tied to bust made in ’11

Agent says key network gone

– FORT WAYNE -- Federal officials outlined the scope Friday of a drug trafficking ring revealed Thursday by a series of raids and unsealed indictments.

During a news conference Friday, David Capp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, said that the latest Safe Streets Task Force investigation, code-named “Operation Breakfast Club,” netted 18 arrests and a total of 20 people indicted.

Thursday, federal law enforcement officials netted defendants in northeast Indiana, Michigan and two in Las Vegas.

A pair of suspects remain on the loose.

Capp said the investigation into the cocaine distribution ring began in 2011 with the arrest of 25-year-old Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia by Angola police.

He began to share information with investigators and that information made its way to the FBI and its task force, which in Fort Wayne is composed of officers from the Indiana State Police, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, Fort Wayne Police Department and FBI agents.

Rubio-Garcia was identified early on as a drug supplier in Steuben County and, using investigative techniques such as wiretaps, investigators were able to identify Manuel Herrera, 43, and his brother Armando Herrera-Velasquez, 41, both of Fort Wayne, as the center of the drug supply network, Capp said.

The Herrera brothers had connection to major narcotics suppliers in Mexico and Chicago, and then the cocaine was shipped to northeast Indiana in kilogram quantities, Capp said.

Law enforcement officers in Marshall County pulled Herrera over in February on a traffic violation. Inside his 2009 silver Pontiac Vibe was a hydraulic trapdoor. Under that trapdoor was $100,000 in cash, Capp said.

The 2009 Vibe was one of seven cars seized during the investigation, which included a 2009 white Lincoln MKS and a 2012 Chevrolet Cruz, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

On Thursday, task force officers raided a number of Fort Wayne locations including 1606 St. Louis Ave.; 117 E. DeWald St.; 3026 Pennsylvania St.; 1034 E. Paulding Road; 3009 Oliver St.; and 7555 Decatur Road, Lot 28. In Fremont, officers searched 600 W. North St., Lot 13, according to federal officials.

Herrera-Velasquez and his wife were arrested in Las Vegas. But Herrera remains at large and is believed to be in Mexico, Capp said.

Darwin Altamirano, 29, of Fort Wayne also remains at large, officials said.

The task force “removed a major drug trafficking ring from the streets of Fort Wayne,” Capp said during the news conference.

And he sent out a message to others in the area engaging in the same kinds of activities.

“We are coming after you,” he said.

Robert Jones, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Indianapolis division, asked for the public’s assistance in nabbing Herrara and the other remaining suspect.

He pledged the bureau’s continued work for the arrests and eradications of similar organizations in Indiana communities.

The arrests were not without mistakes, however, and one person was picked up, having been named in an indictment.

But by the end of the day Thursday, the case against him was dismissed.

Capp said that after the mistake was caught, prosecutors took immediate steps to dismiss the case.

Newly unsealed drug indictments

Darwin Altamirano, 29, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; use of a telephone in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Gelacio Marintez, 36, of Sturgis, Mich., conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine; use of a telephone in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Indicted Thursday

Damian Dubose, 37, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; distributing cocaine; use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Gerardo Martinez-Gaston, 42, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; distributing cocaine (two counts); use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Cynthia L. Sanchez, 42, Fort Wayne, distributing a controlled substance.

Jerry Sell, 45, Van Wert, Ohio, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Armondo Herrera-Velasquez, 41, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Manuel Herrara, 43, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; maintaining a place, 7810 Wohoma Drive, Fort Wayne, for the purpose of distributing and using cocaine.

Elida Herrara, 51, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; maintaining a place, 7810 Wohoma Drive, Fort Wayne, for the purpose of distributing and using cocaine.

Maria Patricia Herrera, 51, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Efren Paniagua-Pizano, 24, Fort Wayne, aiding conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Luis Tapia, 42, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; maintaining a place, 3009 Oliver St., Fort Wayne, for the purpose of distributing and using cocaine.

Armando Gonzales-Gutierrez, 43, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Leobardo Gaona, 39, Huntertown, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Juan Corona, 33, Fort Wayne, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Juan Pena, 20, Sturgis, Mich., conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia, 25, Fremont, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; distribution of cocaine (three counts); selling a firearm to a convicted felon (four counts); distributing methamphetamine; and aiding in the distribution of cocaine.

Jose Noe Perea Casteneda, 40, Goshen, aiding in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.

Guadalupe C. Luna, Fremont, distribution of cocaine.

John Bennett, 35, of Sturgis, Mich., conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; use of a telephone to facilitate in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

rgreen@jg.net

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