"For those who are involved in this activity, you're next"
Kenneth Moore, Special Agent in Charge
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The U.S. Attorney Office in Knoxville announced Monday that 21people were arrested as part of a drug trafficking ring in the area.
A federal indictment alleges the suspects involved are responsible for distributing more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine. Authorities say the drugs trafficked was worth at least $17,500,000.
"We're working for the disruption and dismantlement of the criminal enterprise. This investigation is a prime example of the power of inter-agency cooperation," said Kenneth Moore. "We are determined to keep our communities safe. Our message today for those who are involved in this activity, you're next."
If convicted, each faces at least 10 years in prison and up to life. They also face a fine of up to $10,000,000.
All 21 of the people charged appeared in court this week and pleaded not guilty. They are being held without bond and will go to trial February 11.
Here is a list of the individuals charged:
Jesus "Chucho" Hernandez, 31
Juan Julian Felipe, 26
Alfredo "Boludo" Casteneda, 20
Faustino "El Tono" Ramirez Ponciano, 18
Fernando Amayo "Zeta" Gonzalez, 26
Gonzalo Garcia "Puebla" Gines, 31
Felipe De Jesus "Guero" Banales, 29
Elder Vasquez, 34
Johnny "Ponzona" Soto-Quintana, 23
Nahun "El Perro" Oliva, 24
Gilberto Fuentes Dominguez, 27
Jesus Amustio "Chuy" Panoja, 21
Anael "Guero" Anariba, 35
Geyser "Chiquilin" Deleon, 21
Gelber "Tarzan" Deleon, 21
Jose Luis "Diego" Aguilar, 34
Justin Moore, 28
Malcolm Jones, 21
David Lamb, 23
Monty Cooper, 42
James "Flaco" Handly, 54