New indictments issued in Michigan heroin bust
Agent says drug traffickers in Michigan had ties to Mexican cartels
PONTIAC, Mich. – Seven additional people have been charged in a case that officials are calling the largest heroin bust in Michigan's history.
According to officials with the United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Michigan, the individuals have been charged in a first superseding indictment with violating various federal drug laws, which include conspiracy to distribute 69 kilograms of heroin and 10 kilograms of cocaine.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade said those indicted were Reyes Tapia Nunez, 39, Rachel Bias-Torres, 42, Miguel-Valle-Nunez, 37, Fidel Cortes Mendez, 42, Dwight Jerice Brewer, 38, Jorge Mariscal-Mota, 39, and Branda Lee Flores, 42.
The first superseding indictment was returned Feb. 14, 2012 and is part of a previous indictment that alleges Juventino Urioste Valdovino and Lila Torres-Garcia possessed with intent to distribute multi-kilo quantities of heroin and cocaine in Pontiac, Michigan.
McQuade said the case began in August 2011, when agents in Oakland County seized what is believed to be the largest quanity of heroin ever discovered in the state.
Drug Enforcement Administration agents executed a search warrant at a residence on Pike Street in Pontiac, where they seized over $566,000 in US currency, along with the multi-kilo quanties of heroin and cocaine.
Agents contend the Pike Street home was a "stash house" for both money and drugs. The estimated value of the drugs is well over $150 million street value.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso was part of Thursday's announcement.
He said members of this drug trafficking organization reside in Mexico, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina and Michigan.
According to agents, shipments of heroin and cocaine would be received at the Arizona Mexico border, and subsequently delivered to Michigan. Once in Michigan, agents said multi-kilo quantities of both heroin and cocaine would then be distributed to individual members throughout metropolitan Detroit.
Agents said the organization was responsible for distributing well over 150 kilograms of heroin and cocaine throughout the Detroit area and sending millions of dollars in drug proceeds to Mexico.
"Today's arrests are significant," said Corso. "As evidenced by the fact that the largest heroin seizure ever made in Michigan came from this organization, we know that these drug traffickers have direct ties with the Mexican cartels."
Corso also said there is an opiate abuse epidemic in Michigan and that this case "exemplifies how DEA is attacking the supply side of the problem."
He also credited state and local law enforcement agents for their work in the investigation.
The case was investigated by special agents of the DEA's Detroit Field Office SONIC (South Oakland Narcotics Intelligence Consortium) with assistance of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office NET Task Force.
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