VIGO COUNTY -- A Brazil man has been indicted on federal drug charges.
According to a United States District Court of Southern District Indiana (Terre Haute Division) press release, details for the grand jury indictment of Samuel Moran were made public Wednesday afternoon.
The indictment alleges the 13 individuals were in possession of firearms and used multiple sources of supply to bring pound quantities of "crystal" methamphetamine to traffic the drug in the Terre Haute community.
Moran, 26, along with 12 other individuals, was arrested as part of a warrant sweep in Vigo County earlier Wednesday morning. During the warrant sweep, high-powered weapons, pipe bombs and some children were located in the various homes were suspects were located.
Agencies participating in the seven-month long joint investigation known as "Operation Octane" were the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Terre Haute Safe Streets Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Indiana State Police, Vigo County Sheriff's Department, Terre Haute Police Department, Seelyville Police Department and the Clay County Sheriff's Department.
The arrests were made at homes located in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Crown Point and Mishawaka.
The 13 individuals in the case were indicted with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.
The individuals indicted were:
* Samuel Moran, 26, Brazil,
* Jesse James Linares, 32, Mishawaka,
* Jesus L. Ramos 38, Crown Point, Ind.,
* Gregory R. Miller, 29, Terre Haute,
* Brian Denny, 30, Terre Haute,
* Chad Noble, 33, Terre Haute,
* Curtis Bilyou, 33, Terre Haute
* Edward Weatherspoon, 36, Terre Haute,
* Constatino Cejas, 46, Indianapolis,
* Nicholas Ceja, 39, Indianapolis,
* Steven Gulley, 51, Terre Haute,
* Elisha M. Charles, 32, Terre Haute, and
* Michael Bennett, 33, Terre Haute.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthias D. Onderak is prosecuting the case for the government for all 13 defendants.
If convicted of the charges alleged in the indictments, all 13 defendants potentially face prison sentences of at least 10 years up to life imprisonment without parole. Initial hearings are scheduled in the cases Friday morning before a U.S. Magistrate judge in Terre Haute.
"I have asked local police and prosecutors to help identify the 'worst of the worst' -- offenders who have made the business of crime their life's business -- and decide who among those revolving door offenders should be prosecuted under federal law for offenses that made the defendant eligible for stiffer sentences," Hogsett said. "It's time to take them off the streets."
On April 5, Hogsett announced a new focus by his office to step in at the local level more often to help identify and vigorously federally prosecute cases as a way to take violent criminals off the streets.
The U.S. Attorney's office, according to Hogsett, will be able to assist local crime fighting efforts in the following ways:
* Prosecute more gun crimes than ever before and increase efforts to identify and vigorously prosecute in federal court violent repeat offenders and criminal gangs, especially those who use guns to further their illegal activities and criminal enterprises.
* Increase the use of law enforcement and prosecution tools such as court-authorized wiretaps, undercover and covert operations, surveillance, search warrants and use of the grand jury to develop the best possible cases,
* Actively utilize federal drug laws and federal gun laws for the "worst of the worst" to allow for pretrial detention and stiffer sentences, and
* Aggressively employ a multi-agency law enforcement approach to investigate, arrest and aid prosecution of violent repeat offenders and gangs.
"Federal investigators will step in to help identify and vigorously prosecute these, what I call 'worst of the worst,' to take them off the streets so that local police departments and prosecutors no longer have to deal with them," Hogsett said. "We're not the solution to the entire problem. We all have limited resources to work with, but when it comes to chronic criminals who keep repeating violent crimes, it's time to put them behind bars for a longer period of time and take them out of their culture, our communities."
The initiative, which will focus on repeat drug and violent offenders, would allow for multi-agency effort amid the 59 counties in the southern district of Indiana with federal agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security.
Each case, according to Hogsett, will be reviewed on an individual case-by-case basis with the goal to maximize resources.
Hogsett said federal prosecution would lead to immediate detention upon indictment of criminals and longer prison sentences once convicted.
"If convicted at the federal level, criminals will serve a minimum of 85 percent of their imprisonment," Hogsett said. "At the state level, a criminal can be out after serving only 30-40 percent of their jail time."
Another advantage to federal prosecution, according to Hogsett, is where a convicted person could serve their sentence.
"They could be sent to any federal prison in the country," Hogsett said. "That takes them out of their element, their circle of support and out of our communities. What happened in Vigo County today is just the beginning."