Several arrested in drug raid - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Several arrested in drug raid

HUNTSVILLE, AL - A two-year undercover investigation into a drug trafficking organization run by  Oscar Xicotencah Salomon, a/k/a Javier Hernandez, Jose Delores, "Lo Lo", age 34, of Decatur, Alabama, was announced today by  U. S. Attorney Alice H. Martin.         

In the early morning hours and continuing through today, more than 100 law enforcement agents from at least 10 agencies executed 23 search warrants and executed arrest warrants on individuals suspected as members of a drug trafficking organization operating in the Northern District of Alabama. Search warrants were executed in Decatur, Hartselle, Huntsville, Madison, Crossville, and Cullman.  Of the 29 people arrested or apprehended,  27 were determined to be illegally in the United States.  Federal criminal complaints filed in the United States District Court in Birmingham resulted in the arrest of 15 of the 29 individuals.  The remaining 14 arrests were due to the individual's illegal status in the United States.  Those arrestees are currently in the custody of  Immigration and Customs Enforcement.        

"The Salomon Mexican drug trafficking organization (DTO) was a major distributor of cocaine, methamphetamine/ICE, and marijuana to  high and mid-level dealers throughout Northern Alabama and the region" stated U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin.  "Today's arrests are the result of an outstanding counter drug investigation which targeted the organizational structure and its leadership.  The members  of the HIDTA Task Force are to be commended."        

"While I am discouraged about the level of this criminal element in our community, I am very encouraged by our ability to identify and dismantle this organization," stated Huntsville Police Chief Rex Reynolds.  "I truly appreciate the commitment and work of the line level drug agents and all of the agencies involved - local, state and federal.  I am confident of the impact on drug trafficking that this investigation will have in our region," added Chief Reynolds .        

Over the course of this investigation hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine/ methamphetamine ICE, multiple tons of marijuana, and multi-kilograms of cocaine have been distributed and tens of thousands of dollars have been exchanged.  It is  believed that this criminal enterprise received its drug supply from a Mexican wholesaler. During today's execution of search warrants unspecified amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, United States currency, and multiple firearms were recovered.        

"The Drug Enforcement Administration has been involved in the investigation of this drug trafficking organization in the Huntsville and surrounding areas for quite some time," stated Harold Willis, Resident Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  "This has been a collaborative effort by law enforcement agencies to take down this drug trafficking organization, which has a violent history and international ties involving the shipment of  illegal weapons and drugs as well as trafficking of illegal aliens."         

Suspects arrested today on Federal Drug Conspiracy charges include:        

Oscar Xicotencah Salomon, 34, Decatur, Alabama        

Manuel Angel Sierra, Jr., 20, Decatur, Alabama        

Michelle Hood, 29, Decatur, Alabama            

Andres Bello Hernandez, 30, Madison, Alabama        

Abraham Salomon, 44, Decatur, Alabama        

Gerrardo Maldonado, 28, Huntsville, Alabama        

Octaviano Salomon, 44, Hartselle, Alabama        

Simon Velasquez, 25, Decatur, Alabama        

Alfonso Terriquez, 20, Decatur, Alabama        

Esmir Jacobo Bojorquez, 31, Huntsville, Alabama        

Feliciano Leon Leon, 33, Huntsville, Alabama        

Jerome Wallace, 28, Madison, Alabama         

In separate Complaints, which also charge Drug Conspiracy the following individuals were arrested:        

Esmir Franco-Samudious, 38, Huntsville, Alabama        

Wendy Padilla Alejandro, 18, Decatur, Alabama        

Nahum Cuevas, 24, Decatur, Alabama                

Those arrested are making initial appearances in Birmingham, Alabama, today  before federal magistrates.  Other arrest warrants remain outstanding.  The next step of the judicial process for these suspects will be the presentment of indictments which may contain additional charges to a federal grand jury which will occur within the next thirty days according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.        

During the execution of a search warrant in Limestone County, one subject was shot.  After being air lifted to a hospital the condition of the unnamed subject is unknown, but he is hospitalized.  A review of this shooting is being conducted by the Limestone County Sheriff's Department.          

"Ensuring public safety is a priority. Today's round-up is a good example of the aggressive law enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement teaming with our law enforcement partners," stated Michael A. Holt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).     "We will likewise continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners and use the full range of authorities available to ICE, to seek out, to prosecute, and to remove dangerous criminals from our communities," added Special Agent Holt.        

The fourteen illegal aliens who were taken into custody by agents with  Immigration and Customs Enforcement are in the process of being transferred to the Detention Center in Etowah County, Alabama, where they will await further identification which could result in additional charges in addition to deportation.         

"Drug trafficking organizations  have a negative impact on  our communities," stated Carmen S. Adams, Special Agent-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).   "The FBI along with our federal state and local law enforcement partners will continue to focus investigative efforts on this priority crime problem."        

This investigation was conducted through the Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counter Drug (STAC) HIDTA Task Force.  The HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force is comprised of state, local and federal law enforcement narcotics agents from these agencies:  Huntsville Police Department; Madison County District Attorney's Office; Madison County Sheriff's Office; Madison Police Department; Decatur Police Department; the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Director of the HIDTA Task Force is Sgt.Gerry Norris, Huntsville Police Department.           

The HIDTA Program is administered through the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) for the White House.  It designates areas within the United States which exhibit serious drug trafficking problems, and then additional federal resources are directed to those areas to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences.  To learn more the public is encouraged to visit www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/hidta .  The Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counter Drug (STAC) HIDTA is part of the Gulf Coast HIDTA which covers Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.         

Assistant United States Attorneys Mary Stuart Burrell and Sandy Callahan are prosecuting this matter on behalf of the U.S. Government.        

Members of the public are reminded that a criminal complaint contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

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