03/07/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/08/2018 11:17
MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA - After nearly a two-year investigation into a drug trafficking operation that spanned multiple states, nine people, including two MS-13 gang members, have been indicted on a variety of federal charges, United States Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Authorities in West Virginia and Virginia searched more than a dozen properties, seizing 12.5 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $300,000, eleven firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and more than $100,000 in cash. Those indicted on multiple counts in connection with the drug distribution operation are:
• Rogelio Santacruz Godinez, also known as 'Tramposo,' also known as 'Trampa,' age 36, of Axton, Virginia, Citizen of Mexico
• Jose Alfredo Santacruz Godinez, also known as 'Sandoval,' of Axton, Virginia, Citizen of Mexico
• Guadalupe Ibarra-Ayon, also known as 'Lupe,' age 30, of Kearneysville, West Virginia, Citizen of Mexico
• Eduardo Hernandez Sanchez, also known as 'Lalo,' age 42, of Kearneysville, West Virginia, Citizen of Mexico
• Suspected MS-13 Gang Member Jose Santiago Cruz-Delcid, also known as 'Trucko,' also known as 'Truckito,' age 38, of Bunker Hill, West Virginia, Citizen of El Salvador
• Confirmed MS-13 Gang Member Miguel Angel Cruz-Polanco, age 34, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, Citizen of El Salvdaor
• Adam Gunn, II, age 30, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
• Adam Bensaid, age 19, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
• Rogelio Martinez-Rojas, age 34, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, Citizen of Mexico
• Kenneth Biermann-Ruz, also known as 'Ruz,' also known as 'Chile,' age 29, of Martinsburg, West Virginia
'This investigation lasted nearly two years and involved the cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. When those efforts were combined with the work of our Assistant U.S. Attorneys the stage was set for results, including the indictments that have now been returned by the Grand Jury. This cooperative effort, through the use of a task force, is the perfect example of how such an investigation should be run. These agencies worked together, were not worried about who got credit, combined resources, and got big results. We are a small district and task forces, like the one that worked this investigation, are a force multiplier. I can't thank the task force, its leaders, and participating agencies enough for their dedicated work in this investigation.
'The task forces across the district, the federal, state and local law enforcement, the Assistant U.S. Attorneys and our colleagues in county prosecutor offices across will continue to aggressively pursue all of those who come into this district thinking they can distribute poison in our communities. Whether that poison is the form of cocaine, like in these indictments, heroin, fentanyl, or methamphetamine, we will relentlessly pursue them. This investigation has shown that violent gangs like MS-13 are attempting infiltrate our state. If you are MS-13, do not come here. We know what you stand for, we will find you, and we will prosecute you for violations of the law.
It is important to state that we have a number of ongoing investigations, and I expect we will continue to work together towards successful conclusions in all of them,' said Powell.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shawn M. Adkins and Lara K. Omps-Botteicher are prosecuting the cases on behalf of the government. The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Virginia assisted. The investigation is led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, the Eastern Panhandle Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, a HIDTA-funded initiative, the Potomac Highlands Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug & Gang Task Force , the West Virginia State Police, the Virginia State Police, the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the Martinsburg Police Department, the Charles Town Police Department, and the Ranson Police Department. Other agencies assisting in the investigation are the Winchester City Police Department; and Frederick County, Virginia Sheriff's Office; Pittsylvania County; Virginia Sheriff's Office; and the Henry County, Virginia, Sheriff's Office.
The investigation was funded in part by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF). The OCDETF program supplies critical federal funding and coordination that allows federal and state agencies to work together to successfully identify, investigate, and prosecute major interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and other criminal enterprises.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.