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Thursday, 15 March 2012

cocaine traffickers arrested, officials say


Authorities announced today that they have charged 22 people who they say were responsible for selling more than 5 kilograms, or more than 11 pounds, of cocaine per week in the Austin area during the past 10 months. “This is quite large,” Austin Assistant Police Chief Sean Mannix said during a morning press conference. “It’s not just taking a street dealer off the street. It’s a whole cell.” Mannix said the group includes member of Austin area street gangs who received their cocaine directly from members of a drug cartel, which he declined to name. Fifteen of the defendants are charged in a federal indictment with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.The rest of the defendants have been charged in state court. Last week, authorities executed a coordinated series of search and arrest warrants. Two defendants were already in custody.One remains at large, authorities said. U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman said that because of the amount of drugs involved, the federal defendants face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison if convicted. At the press conference, officials praised the teamwork of the federal and state authorities, which include the FBI. Authorities declined to speculate on the affect the takedown would have on the local drug market. “We don’t fool ourselves into thinking that by taking these people off the streets” the drug problem in Austin will abate, Mannix said. Pitman identified Vivid Kahey, 34, as a leader in the cocaine distribution ring. Also charged in federal court were Austin residents Raymond Smith, 38; Rodney Ryan, 33; Kenyatta McClain, 36; Luis Gonzales, 43; Noe Lopez, 33; Mario Gonzalez; 40; Bianca Garza, 24; Daniel Olmos, 21; and Llasmin Orduno, 24. Also charged in federal court were Vicente Sanchez, 34, of Cedar Creek and Kevin Edwards, 41, of Manor.

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