The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 10:51 am

Feds bust up drug trafficking ring

Rebecca S. Green | The Journal Gazette

Federal investigators have apparently taken down a drug trafficking ring moving kilos of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin through the Fort Wayne area.

According to documents unsealed this week in U.S. District Court, the drug trafficking ring was headed up by 43-year-old Jose Cerrogordo Razo.

Razo’s name appears in other documents linked to the case, but he is named in a 10-count federal indictment accusing him of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. He is also accused of maintaining a property in the 2700 block of Winter Street for the purposes of drug distribution.

According to court documents, he was the target of a monthslong federal wiretap investigation that grew out of the controlled buys of the drugs. It appears the investigation began in January 2015 and continued until at least June 2016.

Through the controlled buys, surveillance and the wiretaps, federal agents and law enforcement officers with the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force snagged at least 16 individuals in various levels of the organization. 

Some, like Rene Del-Rio Salazar, are accused of transporting shipments of both cocaine and drug proceeds for Razo. In May, according to a federal criminal complaint charging Salazar with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, Salazar was followed from one of Razo’s Fort Wayne stash houses to Marshall County, where he was pulled over by police. Inside the car was a backpack officers had seen him take from one of Razo’s other associates, Carlos Silva-Ponce.

The backpack contained almost $100,000 in cash and is believed to have been a payment from Razo to a drug supplier. Some of the money found in the bag matched the serial numbers of bills used in the controlled drug buys, according to court documents.

In early July, 44-year-old Larmondo Watts was pulled over for failing to signal a turn onto Covington Road. An Allen County Sheriff’s Department K-9 officer and his dog, Ike, discovered narcotics in the driver’s side door. About two kilograms of cocaine were discovered in the vehicle, as was more than half a kilo of marijuana. 

Court documents unsealed this week indicate that Razo believed Watts had just left one of his stash houses before he was pulled over.

Razo had a tough time keeping up with the heroin demand, according to court documents.

In more than one recorded conversation, 30-year-old Fernando Guapo Garcia told Razo he needed more "dog food" for the "dogs," which was their code for heroin and those who bought it from them.

Tuesday morning, federal agents and local law enforcement officers raided a number of locations around Allen County in connection with the investigation, including a house in the 2500 block of Baywood Trail, and officials with the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Indiana scheduled a news conference for this afternoon.

Meanwhile, Allen County jail officials booked in more than a dozen of the individuals accused in court documents, posting the mugshots on their website for distribution.


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