(STL.News) – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Ricardo Ochoa-Beltran, 30, of San Mateo, California was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Ochoa-Beltran was the leader of a drug trafficking and money laundering organization that operated out of California and Indiana to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine in the Indianapolis area from early 2016 to Ochoa-Beltran’s arrest on July 17, 2017. Ochoa-Beltran previously pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
“Members of drug trafficking organizations, such as the one led by Ochoa-Beltran, who choose to peddle drugs into Indianapolis neighborhoods will be identified and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Minkler. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting those individuals involved in drug trafficking organizations and dismantling those organizations in an effort to keep our communities safe.”
Ochoa-Beltran’s drug trafficking organization obtained drugs in various ways, including via packages shipped from California to Indiana. Law enforcement intercepted hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of controlled substances over the course of their two-year investigation. Ochoa-Beltran laundered the funds generated by the drug trafficking organization by funneling drug proceeds through 30 different individual bank accounts, sending international wire transfers to Mexico (primarily, Sinaloa) using false sender names through InterCambio Express wire transfers, and by smuggling cash in bulk across the country.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), and the Metro Drug Task Force.
“The sentencing of Ochoa-Beltran to 30 years in federal prison puts all violent drug trafficking organizations on notice that they will be held accountable for their disgraceful conduct and illegal activities,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Gannon. “Throughout the course of this investigation, agents seized over 20 firearms and multiple pounds of methamphetamine from Ochoa-Beltran and his associates. DEA remains committed to protecting fellow Hoosiers by relentlessly pursuing drug dealers who prey on our communities. DEA would like to thank their state, local, and federal partners for dismantling this highly sophisticated organization. Today, Mr. Ochoa-Beltran paid a debt no drug dealer ever wants to pay; he lost his freedom!”
“The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Field Office. “Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to provide its financial expertise as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice.”
According to Assistant United States Attorneys M. Kendra Klump and Lawrence D. Hilton, who prosecuted this case for the government, Ochoa-Beltran will serve five years of supervised release following his imprisonment.
The remaining defendants were sentenced as follows: Joel Alvarado-Santiago, 90 months; Miguel Lara-Leon, 260 months; Angelica Guzman-Cordoba, 240 months; Cesar Salgado, 140 months; Megan Castleton, 90 months; Bryan Stocker, 60 months; Lissa Garcia, 46 months; and Roberto Martinez-Hernandez, 18 months’ imprisonment.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting transnational drug-trafficking organizations that threaten the Southern District of Indiana. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 3.1.