Five Arrested for Federal Drug Conspiracy Involving Ice Methamphetamine

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

PEORIA, Ill. – A federal indictment unsealed today charges five individuals with a drug trafficking conspiracy spanning over two years.  All of the five defendants named in the indictment are charged with one count of conspiracy alleging that they acted together to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, beginning on or about February 1, 2019, and continuing thereafter to present in Tazewell, Peoria, and Logan Counties and elsewhere.  The following were indicted and arrested:

  • Juan E. Bernal, 53, of the 1700 block of 2250th Street, Atlanta, Illinois;
  • Maria Guadalupe Flores-Cano, a.k.a. “Lupita,” 40, of the 1000 block of West Nowland Street, Peoria, Illinois;
  • Juan Carlos Figueroa-Ramirez, a.k.a. “Max,” 43, of the 1700 block of West Antoinette Street, Peoria, Illinois;
  • Edgar Daniel Perez-Hernandez, 22, of the 2300 block of West Lincoln, Peoria, Illinois; and
  • Edgar J. Tello, a.k.a. “Joker,” 31, of the 800 block of NE Monroe, Peoria, Illinois.

U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Harris; DEA Special Agent in Charge Rick Dollus, Chicago Field Division; Pekin Police Department Chief John Dossey; IRS Supervisory Special Agent Scott Brown; Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration Customs Enforcement Acting Resident in Charge Eric Bowers; ATF Resident Agent in Charge Tom Dart, Springfield Field Office; Peoria Multi-County Enforcement Group Director Cody Wilson, and Peoria Police Chief Eric Echevarria announced the charges. The U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the operation.

The indictment was returned by the grand jury on May 17, 2022, and sealed pending arrests.  All five defendants were arrested May 23, 2022, and appeared for an initial appearance in court this morning, May 24, 2022. It was ordered that all five individuals remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending further detention proceedings. A jury trial has been set for July 25, 2022, before the District Court Judge James E. Shadid.

If convicted, the maximum statutory penalties for the alleged crimes of each defendant charged are a minimum of 10 years to life imprisonment, up to a $10 million dollar fine, and not less than 5 years to life of supervised release.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; each defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. 

Law enforcement agents conducting the investigation include DEA, the Pekin Police Department, the Peoria Police Department, IRS, HSI, and ATF, alongside Peoria Multi-County Enforcement Group, Central Illinois Enforcement Group, Rock County (WI) Sheriff’s Office, United States Postal Service, Illinois State Police Air Ops, National Guard Counter Drug, Illinois State Police Districts 8 and 9, and DCI Digital Evidence Recovery.  Assisting in the arrests included CIERT, Peoria SRT, Peoria County CIERT, ISP SWAT, and Logan County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine G. Legge and Keith Hollingshead-Cook are coordinating the investigation and prosecuting the case on behalf of the government in the Peoria Division, Central District of Illinois, with assistance of the Tazewell and Fulton County State’s Attorney’s Office.

This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, 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.