Archive for Friday, November 22, 2002

Dozens indicted in alleged drug ring

November 22, 2002

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— A federal grand jury has indicted 43 people on various drug, gun and related charges, concluding what prosecutors said was a two-year investigation into a drug ring that stretched across five states and into Mexico.

According to a pair of indictments, the drug ring was established and maintained by Hector Garcia Jr., 39, of Chandler, Ariz. He and 42 other individuals, the indictments charge, were involved in purchasing cocaine and methamphetamine in Mexico for resale in Wichita, Oklahoma City, Chicago, Denver and South Sioux City, Neb.

"What started as a methamphetamine investigation in Oklahoma developed into a major multi-agency investigation that spanned the United States and had international implications," said Don Vespa, the agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Wichita office.

Federal and state authorities have arrested or detained 19 people named in the indictments. Garcia, who faces charges that include conspiracy to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, racketeering, and using a telephone to facilitate the commission of a murder for hire, remains at large.

U.S. Atty. Eric Melgren said most of the suspects had been arrested in Wichita.

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