Eighth And Final Defendant Pleads Guilty In New Buffalo Cocaine Ring

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced that Adrian Romero Antunez (35), a Mexican national in the United States on a tourist visa, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute five (5) kilograms or more of cocaine.  Romero Antunez was the final defendant to plead guilty in a transnational and interstate cocaine ring that centered around New Buffalo, Michigan resident Ivan Huerta Hernandez (33).  Through conduits in Mexico, Huerta Hernandez was supplied by sources located in Chicago, Illinois, including Romero Antunez.  Huerta Hernandez then distributed cocaine to dealers in West Michigan and Northern Indiana. 

          On the morning of November 3, 2021, approximately 90 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed arrest warrants and six search warrants in four judicial districts: the Western District of Michigan, the Northern District of Indiana, the Northern District of Illinois, and the Central District of Illinois.  Investigators seized over 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, approximately $100,000 in cash, six vehicles linked to cocaine trafficking, and two firearms.

          The men who have pled guilty to felony charges are listed below: 

Name

Residence

Age

Ivan Huerta Hernandez

New Buffalo, Michigan

33


Adrian Romero Antunez

Chicago, Illinois

35

Henry Shavar Nichols

Greenville, South Carolina

41

Marcus Jemel Johnson

Benton Harbor, Michigan

41


Juan Martinez Camarillo

Michigan City, Indiana

37

Donald James Rogers

New Buffalo, Michigan

62

Manuel Eudave

La Porte, Indiana

54


Santiago Cardenas

Michigan City, Indiana

41

          “The guilty pleas in this case represent a significant victory against a transnational drug trafficking conspiracy,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten.  “My office is committed to combatting large-scale traffickers who bring these poisons to the Western District of Michigan.  This prosecution demonstrates the power of pooling the resources of federal, state, and local governments.  Drug trafficking organizations do not recognize political boundaries and we must continue to work together to combat drug trafficking organizations across Michigan, the Midwest, and the United States.”

          For more information, please see the continuation in support of the criminal complaint available on the public docket.  United States v. Hernandez, et al., No. 21-MJ-551, ECF No. 1 (W.D. Mich.).   

          On May 23, 2022, the Honorable Paul L. Maloney, U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Michigan sentenced Nichols to 36 months imprisonment, Martinez Camarillo to 57 months, and Cardenas to one year of probation.  The following defendants are scheduled for sentencing on the following dates: Rogers on June 17, 2022, Johnson on June 21, 2022, Huerta Hernandez on July 21, 2022, and Romero Antunez on September 12, 2022. 

          The case was investigated and prosecuted as part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that began in 2020 and has been led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Marshals Service (USMS),  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Michigan State Police’s Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET), Berrien County Sheriff’s Department (BCSD), Pokagon Band Tribal Police, Michigan City Police Department, La Porte City Police Department, and the Cook County Sheriff Department.

          OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using an intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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