News


TBROC Agents part of task force to arrest 16 on federal drug crimes

4/3/2017
 
TAMPA BAY, Fla. - FDLE agents with the Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center were part of a multi-agency joint investigation that recently led to the arrest and charges of 16 individuals on federal drug trafficking crimes.Agents collaborated with other agencies on the long-term investigation and found between December 2015 and March 2017, the defendants conspired to distribute heroin or cocaine.

FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said, "After FDLE agents worked with Tampa police officers to initiate this long-term investigation, FDLE, along with our partners, seized numerous kilos of cocaine and heroin, firearms and currency from an international, criminal street gang and successfully shut down a major heroin and cocaine trafficking organization in our state. Detecting and dismantling this type of criminal organization is a priority of FDLE and we work diligently in collaboration with our local, state, and federal partners to remove these threats."

The United States Attorney’s Office announced the unsealing of three indictments charging those individuals: Felix Mejia Lagunas, a/k/a “Carlos Lagunas Salgado,” (41, Riverside, California); Jesus Alberto Bermudez Caraballo, a/k/a “Bebo,” (28, Orlando); Jose Carlos Polanco Vasquez, a/k/a “Pola,” (28, Orlando); Raul Vicente Espada Ortiz, a/k/a “Gordo,” (39, Orlando); Deyvis Lee Echevarria (29, Orlando); Angel Alexis Alicea, a/k/a “Maly,” (28, Tampa); Jose Leonardo Jimenez, a/k/a “Cuzzy,” (28, Tampa); Jose Angel Leonardo Jimenez, a/k/a “Chuki,” (26, Tampa); Jose Antonio Crespo-Negron, a/k/a “Chepo,” (30, Tampa); Rachel Augustine Thomas (55, St. Petersburg); Juan Carlos Lopez, a/k/a “Bori,” (33, Tampa); Freddie Resto (58, Tampa); and Robert Kelly (55, Tampa) were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

Additionally, Hector Luis Vazquez Alvalle, a/k/a “Hectitor,” (40, Orlando); Alberto Torres Ortiz, a/k/a “El Viejo,” (39, Homestead); and Christian Torres Vasquez (30, Guayama, Puerto Rico) were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 40 years in federal prison. The indictments also notify the defendants that the United States intends to forfeit an Acura ILX, Ford F-250, and $79,520 which are alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses.

According to the indictments, between December 2015 and March 2017, the defendants conspired to distribute heroin or cocaine.

The cases were investigated through the Orangized Crime Drug Enforcement Task force (OCDETF) program. The principal mission of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

Agencies involved in this OCDETF operation include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Tampa Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.
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