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Feds indict 20 in northeast Indiana drug ring

Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 8:19 am

Indictments handed down in late March by a federal grand jury led to furious activity by law enforcement officials over the latter part of this week, with 20 individuals either named or arrested in 14 indictments, with all accused of various types of drug-related offenses.

U.S. attorney David Capp announced the indictments Friday. Information released during a media availability on Friday said that an

investigation that began in March 2011 "revealed the existence of a large scale narcotics distribution conspiracy operating in northeastern Indiana."

Three people -- Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia, as well as Manuel Herrera and Armando Herrera-Velasquez -- were identified in the initial stages of the investigation by the Fort Wayne Safe Streets Task Force, under the direction of the FBI. Rubio-Garcia was alleged to be a drug supplier in the Steuben County area, while Herrera and Herrera-Velasquez were identified through wiretaps as alleged operators of an drug supply network in northeast Indiana.

The following were named in the indictments:

Pedro Salud Rubio-Garcia, 25, of Fremont, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as the distribution of meth and selling of a firearm to a known, convicted felon

*Jose Noe Perea Casteneda, 40, of Goshen, charged with conspiracty to distribute and possess, with the intent to distribute, cocaine and methamphetamine

*Armando Herrera-Velasquez, 41, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, with the intent to distribute it

*Manuel Herrera, 43, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess, with the intent to distribute, cocaine, as well as maintaining a residence in order to distribute

*Elida Herrera, 51, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute

*Maria Patricia Herrera, 52, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute

*Efren Paniagua-Pizano, 24, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute

*Luis Tapia, 42, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine, with the intent to distribute, as well as maintaining a residence in order to distribute

*Armando Gonzales-Gutierrez, 43, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

*Darwin Altamirano, 29, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

*Juan Corona, 33, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

*Damian Dubose, 37, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine, as well as use of a communication facility

*Leobardo Gaona, 39, of Huntertown, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

*Gelacio Martinez, 36, of Sturgis, Mich., charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

*Gerardo Martinez-Gaston, 42, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine, as well as use of a communication facility

*Juan Pena, 20, of Sturgis, Mich., charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

*Guadalupe C. Luna, of Fremont, charged with distribution of cocaine

*Cynthia L. Sanchez, 42, charged with distribution of cocaine

*Jerry Sell, 45, of Van Wert, Ohio, of Fort Wayne, charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

*John Bennett, 35, of Sturgis, Mich., charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, as well as use of a communication facility

Paniagua-Pizano, Tapia, Rubio-Garcia, Luna, Gonzalez-Gutierrez, Martinez-Gaston, Corona, Perea Casteneda, Sell, Maria Patricia Herrera, Sanchez, Dubose, Pena and Gaona were all arrested Thursday in the Fort Wayne area, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Manuel Herrera and Elida Herrera were arrested in Las Vegas, while Martinez and Bennett were picked up in Michigan.

In addition to the arrests, the FBI served multiple search warrants in the region on Thursday, at these locations: 1606 Saint Louis Ave., 117 E. Dewald St., 3026 Pennsylvania St., 1024 E. Paulding Road, 3009 Oliver St., and 7555 Decatur Road (lot 28), all in Fort Wayne, and 600 W. North (lot 13) in Fremont.

A number of vehicles were searched, as well.