Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Your Coke Connection Might Be "Cerrado": Ten St. Louisans Busted In Nationwide Sting

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 3:47 PM

In a two-day bodyslam of the Mexican drug cartel, "La Familia," law enforcers in 19 different states arrested 303 individuals, including 10 from the St. Louis area.

click to enlarge littlefriend2.jpg
Five of the locals put in bracelets were Mexican nationals:
Wlfrado Navarrete-Hernandez, 36, St. Ann, MO
Maria Valazquez, 40, St. Ann, MO
Reynaldo Reyes-Fuentes, a/k/a Miguel Becerril, 36, Bridgeton, MO
Eduardo Olivas-Contreras, a/k/a Walo, 40, Bridgeton, MO
Omar Figueroa Solis, a/k/a Omara Armondo Cervantis, 24, Hazelwood, MO

Authorities say the other five St. Louis associates were:
Elias Inigues, a/k/a Elias Deniz, 32, St. Charles, MO
Shaun Glenwood Mack, a/k/a Gary Dale, 32, St. Louis, MO
Anthony Lionel Ruiz, 20, Hazelwood, MO
Nicholas Donald Tieman, 29, St. Charles, MO
Curtis Wayne Smith, 38, Vandalia, IL

Law officials also nabbed their Chicago connection, EDGAR MERAZ-SALAS, age 34.

The indictment, viewable after the jump, does not specify how much weight they were moving, only that the amount exceeded five kilos of cocaine.

U.S. law enforcers have been thumping La Familia for some 44 months now in a huge crackdown they've cryptically dubbed, "Project Coronado," according to the Department of Justice. The DOJ describes the La Familia cartel thusly:

The La Familia cartel is a violent drug trafficking cartel based in the state of Michoacán, in southwestern Mexico. According to court documents, La Familia controls drug manufacturing and distribution in and around Michoacán, including the importation of vast quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States. La Familia is philosophically opposed to the sale of methamphetamine to Mexicans, and instead supports its export to the United States for consumption by Americans. La Familia is a heavily armed cartel that has utilized violence to support its narcotics trafficking business including murders, kidnappings and assaults.
Here are some eye-popping stats from the last 44 months of Project Coronado:

  • Number of Total arrests: 1,186
  • Kilograms of Cocaine Seized: 1,999
  • Pounds of Methamphetamine Seized: 2,710
  • Pounds of Heroin Seized: 29
  • Pounds of Marijuana Seized: 16,390
  • U.S. Currency Seized: $32,795,000
  • Number of Vehicles Seized: 269
  • Number of Weapons Seized: 389
  • Number of Maritime Vessels Seized: 2

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation