FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Press Release): United States Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent In Charge Grant Mendenhall in coordination with Fort Wayne Chief Steve Reed, Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux and Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter announce charges in 8 indictments unsealed today.
These indictments focused on a number of drug distribution charges, with 21 individuals charged across the 8 indictments. Twelve (12) search warrants were also executed this morning in greater Fort Wayne as part of law enforcement efforts to arrest the indicted individuals.
In these indictments the following charges are alleged:
Jennifer Mendoza, age 24, and Luiza Gunn a/k/a Luiza Eldridge, age 26, both of Fort Wayne were each charged in a three (3) count indictment alleging the distribution of fentanyl.
Ivan Acosta, age 35, and Juan Hernandez-Ortega, age 31, both of Fort Wayne were charged in a three (3) count indictment alleging the distribution of methamphetamine.
Ubaldo Peralta-Soto, age 25, of Indianapolis; Clemente Cortez, age 45, of Fort Wayne; and Nestor Luna-Lugo, age 34, of Fort Wayne were charged in a four (4) count indictment alleging a conspiracy to distribute cocaine as well as the distribution of cocaine.
Juvenal Cervantes-Cruz, age 25, of Red Bluff, CA along with Christian Diaz, age 22, and Jesus Sanchez, Jr, age 21, both of Fort Wayne were charged in a five (5) count indictment alleging the distribution of marijuana, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and providing a residence for the storage and distribution of narcotics.
Fredi Garcia-Gamez, age 33, Miguel Navarrete-Garcia, age 43, and Tomas Vega-Perez, age 41, all of Fort Wayne were charged in a three (3) count indictment alleging the distribution of heroin and providing a residence for the storage and distribution of narcotics.
Jesus Soto-Arellanes, age 37, and Erik De Leon Verduzco-Garcia, age 33, both of Fort Wayne, along with Roberto Soto-Arellanes, age 43, Jesus Alberto Soto-Garcia, age 35 and Edbel Alejandro Soto-Verduzco, age 28, all of Columbia City, were charged in a twelve (12) count indictment alleging conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana along with other drug distribution and gun possession charges.
Roderick Dedeaux, age 29, of Fort Wayne was charged in a five (5) count indictment alleging distribution of fentanyl, methamphetamine and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
Juan Salas, age 30, of Fort Wayne was charged in an eight (8) count indictment alleging the distribution of fentanyl.
U.S. Attorney Kirsch said, “Narcotic distribution is one of the precursors to violent crime. Today with the arrest of these individuals we made a serious impact on the distribution of narcotics in the greater Fort Wayne Area. Local police agencies like Fort Wayne PD, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and Indiana State Police worked tirelessly in coordination with the FBI to build these cases in Fort Wayne to help reduce violence associated with drug distribution.”
“Today’s law enforcement actions are a culmination of more than a year’s worth of investigative activity led by the Fort Wayne FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which includes as its partners the Fort Wayne Police Department, Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and the Indiana State Police,” said Grant Mendenhall, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division. “This was an outstanding example of Federal and State agencies working together to positively impact Northeast Indiana by disrupting and dismantling a large scale drug trafficking organization. These arrests should serve as a reminder that we will continue to target these offenders and the impact they are having on our communities.”
“The collaborative efforts of the Fort Wayne Police Department, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office continue to make positive strides against drug trafficking in the City of Fort Wayne. The joint effort of these agencies has resulted in criminal investigations and arrests that will significantly affect the drug trade in Fort Wayne and Allen County,” said Chief Steve Reed, Fort Wayne Police Department. “The agencies that comprise the Safe Streets Task Force – the Fort Wayne Police Department, Allen County Police Department, Indiana State Police and FBI – continue to work tirelessly in their efforts to eliminate drug trafficking and the violence that often accompanies it. These arrests and seizures are a direct result of that combined effort and we thank these officers for all the long hours and hard work that went into these investigations.”
“The Allen County Sheriff’s Department, a proud member of the Safe Streets Task Force, has and will continue to work in conjunction with the FBI, and the U.S Attorney’s Office to battle the drug epidemic within Allen County. We are encouraged by the efforts that have been set forth, and look forward to positive improvements in our area,” said Sheriff David J. Gladieux, Allen County Sheriff’s Department.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter commented, “I am extremely proud of our participation with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.” Carter continued, “The hard work of our assigned investigators, in collaboration with other member representatives, speaks to the dedication of state, county, local and federal law enforcement partners who work daily to make Indiana communities safer for everyone to enjoy.”
These cases were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Team, the Fort Wayne Police Department, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police with the assistance of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. These cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Geller and Stacey R. Speith.
The United States Attorney’s Office emphasizes that an Indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons are presumed innocent until, and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.