Tulsa man who ran Mexican drug cartel operation in U.S. gets 10 years in prison

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TULSA, OK – A Tulsa man was sentenced today in federal court for his role in a heroin trafficking operation with ties to Mexico’s New Generation Cartel, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan sentenced Alphonso Caldwell, 27, of Tulsa, to 120 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.

“One of the things I’m thankful for this month is that another major player in a heroin trafficking operation has been held accountable in a court of law. Alphonso Caldwell was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “Caldwell was one of 30 defendants in an international heroin trafficking scheme that we took down as part of Operation Smack Dragon. I am proud of our multijurisdictional team and their combined efforts to confront this criminal organization. Kudos to the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, IRS Criminal Investigation, Tulsa Police Department, and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. I would also be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the hard work and leadership of Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel-lyn McCormick, chief of my Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Job well done by all.”

“Drug traffickers and their illegal activity pose a significant threat to the safety of the general public and all of our communities,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge HSI Dallas. “One of our main priorities is to dismantle any transnational criminal organization that attempts to profit from manufacturing, smuggling, purchasing, or distribution of these illicit drugs that hinder public safety. We are committed to working with our federal and state law enforcement partners to keep illegal substances out of our communities and investigating the organizations responsible.”


In his plea agreement, Caldwell admitted that from November 2017 to June 2019 he possessed with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin. Caldwell stated that he purchased ½ kilogram to 1 kilogram of heroin multiple times per week from both Jose Garcia and Edson Garcia-Velasquez. Caldwell purchased the heroin and redistributed it to third parties who redistributed the heroin to others. He relied on customers’ payments to purchase additional heroin.

Caldwell will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations led the investigation in partnership with the U.S. Department of Treasury, IRS Criminal Investigation; the Oklahoma State Attorney General’s Office; and Tulsa Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel-lyn A. McCormick prosecuted the case. AUSA McCormick is the Lead Attorney for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force for the Northern District of Oklahoma.

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