Leader of Tri-State drug distribution busted, sentenced to 353 months in prison

Leader of Tri-State drug distribution busted, sentenced to 353 months in prison

FOX19 - The leader of a large drug trafficking operation responsible for distributing large quantities of heroin and marijuana in northern Kentucky and southern Ohio has been sentenced to 353 months in federal prison.

Officials said Monday, U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar sentenced Alberto Lara-Chavez, 45, of Pasadena, Calif., for conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana, distribution of heroin, distribution of marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, conspiracy to launder money, and engaging in a continuing criminal

Judge Thapar also sentenced Lara-Chavez's son, Jose Alberto Lara, 23, of Planada, Calif., to 60 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

Under federal law both defendants must serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences, according to officials.

Those two, along with Felix Agundiz-Montes, were convicted in March of 2015, following a nine-day jury trial.

According to reports, the evidence at trial established that Lara-Chavez led a group of 19 individuals who conspired to distribute heroin and marijuana in Kenton, Boone, Campbell, Gallatin, and Grant Counties in Kentucky, as well as Hamilton, Brown, and Clermont Counties in Ohio from October 2012 through May 16, 2014.

The evidence at trial also established that the group shipped marijuana, from Texas and California, to locations in Ohio and Kentucky, stated officials.

The group operated a large marijuana field in Sardinia, Ohio; and brought heroin, from Columbus, Ohio, to northern Kentucky for distribution, claimed reports.

Court records and evidence further showed that, during the course of the conspiracy, many of the conspirators were not legally present in the United States and had been brought here, by other conspirators, to sell narcotics; many illegally possessed firearms to protect the drugs and drug proceeds; and the leaders conspired to launder funds from the operation through bank deposits, wire transfers, and casino activity.

Several of the conspirators also claimed they were associated with a Mexican drug cartel, according to officials.

The leader of the group who directed its local activities , Lara-Chavez, and all of his co-conspirators have been convicted and sentenced for their roles, announced United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Kerry B. Harvey and  Special Agent in Charge, Joseph Reagan

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Postal Investigation Service, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force.

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