19 charged in heroin conspiracy; 17 arrested, 16 of those in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – The United States Department of Justice Western District of Oklahoma says a nationwide operation has resulted in the seizure of more than 16 pounds of heroin, more than 3 pounds of meth, 8 firearms, approximately $30,000, the indictment of 19 suspects and the arrest of 17 of those defendants, 16 of which were arrested in Oklahoma.

In an indictment unsealed today, from December 2015 to the present, each defendant was a member of a conspiracy that distributed one kilogram or more of heroin and 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

“Consistent with this administration’s prioritization of opioid enforcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will work closely with law enforcement to keep heroin off of Oklahoma streets,” said U.S. Attorney Downing.  “I could not be more pleased about this successful series of arrests and the cooperation among law enforcement that makes an operation of this sort possible.”

The defendants charged in the indictment are:

  • Juan Rocha-Teran, 33
  • Daniel Gonzalez-Herrera, 28
  • Victor Legorreta-Torres, 33
  • Angel Artemio Gonzalez, 20
  • Nicole Burkhammer, 24
  • Samuel Purkhiser, 29
  • Brittany Blake, 29
  • Carlos De Leon, 29
  • Mariano Contreras-Acosta, 51
  • Edward Owens, 35
  • Joshua Keenan Williams, 28
  • Neri Estuardo Sanchez-Mijangos
  • Kelsey Taylor, 22
  • Jeff Burke, 30
  • Christian Dusenberry, 23
  • Damon Colclasure, 44
  • Haylee Butler, 23
  • Weston Guinn, 32
  • Rosalynn Zaragoza, 19

Angel Artemio Gonzalez and Rosalynn Zaragoza have not been apprehended and are considered fugitives.  Law enforcement believes Artemio Gonzalez is in the Ontario, California, area and that Zaragoza is in the Oklahoma City area.

“Today is a great day for the citizens of Oklahoma,” said Clyde E. Shelley, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Dallas Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.  “The DEA, along with partners from numerous federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, have dismantled a heroin trafficking organization responsible for distributing large amounts of this dangerous drug across the state of Oklahoma.”

According to the indictment, Rocha-Teran, Legorreta-Torres, Artemio Gonzalez, De Leon, Contreras-Acosta, and Sanchez-Mijangos acquired multiple kilograms and pounds of heroin and methamphetamine from California, Nevada, Mexico, Texas, and elsewhere for re-distribution in the Oklahoma City area.

Allegedly, some of the defendants stored drugs at different places around Oklahoma City and used coded language to make the distributions.

John P. Scott, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of DEA’s Oklahoma District, said: “This case is a perfect example of the outstanding collaboration and partnerships that the law enforcement community has here in the state of Oklahoma.  This case was developed over the last two years, spanning multiple states and judicial districts.  It would not have been possible without the efforts of the case agents, task force officers, and prosecutors who work tirelessly to rid our community of those determined to make money off of selling drugs that devastate communities and destroy lives.”

Officials say the amount of heroin seized is the equivalent of approximately 30,000 individual doses.

The following agencies assisted in arresting defendants and searching locations:

  • Broken Arrow Police Department
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Canadian County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department
  • Choctaw Police Department
  • Duncan Police Department
  • Edmond Police Department
  • El Reno Police Department
  • Grady County Sheriff’s Office
  • Mesquite, TX Police Department
  • Moore Police Department
  • Norman Police Department
  • Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics
  • Oklahoma City Police Department
  • Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office
  • Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office
  • Oklahoma District 18 Task Force
  • Oklahoma District 21 Task Force
  • Oklahoma District 23 Task Force
  • Oklahoma Highway Patrol
  • Ontario, California, Police Department, Career Criminal Division
  • Oregon State Police
  • Rogers County District Attorney’s Office
  • Seminole Nation Lighthorse Police Department
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office
  • Tulsa Police Department
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Enforcement and Removal Operations)
  • U.S. Marshals Service
  • Yukon Police Department

On August 20, officers from a variety of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies executed a coordinated series of arrests and searches in Oklahoma and Nevada.  Authorities say including first responders, more than 200 personnel were involved in the operation.

The August 20 takedown resulted in 14 arrests in various parts of Oklahoma.  One suspect was arrested today. Contreras-Acosta was arrested on August 6 in Texas and De Leon was arrested on August 14 in Oklahoma City.

In addition to one count of conspiracy, the indictment charges various defendants in 37 counts of possession with intent to distribute, 17 counts of using a telephone to facilitate a drug felony, and four counts of maintaining a premises for the purpose of distributing drugs.

Conspiracy conviction carries up to life in prison and a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years, as well as supervised release of up to life and a fine of up to $10,000,000. Possession with intent to distribute would carry maximum sentences of 20 years, 40 years, or life, depending on the drug amounts alleged in each count. Using a telephone to facilitate a drug felony can carry a maximum sentence of four years upon conviction.  And a conviction on the counts charging maintaining a drug-involved premises would carry a maximum sentence of 20 years.

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