Indianapolis, IN-(ENEWSPF)- Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today that Nicholas Ceja, age 40, and Constantino Cejas, age 47, both of Indianapolis, have been sentenced for their roles in a drug trafficking operation that was responsible for distributing large amounts of methamphetamine in the Terre Haute area. Before U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, Constantino Cejas, a/k/a “The Don,” was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, and Nicholas Ceja was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
“We’ve put organized crime on notice in this state that Hoosier law enforcement is united in our efforts to identify and dismantle these violent gangs,” Hogsett said. “These sentences show the serious consequences of peddling drugs, guns, and violence in our communities.”
An indictment returned in April 2011 charged 13 individuals with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. This included defendants from Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Mishawaka, Crown Point, and Brazil, Indiana. Constantino Cejas and Nicholas Ceja were the final two defendants to face trial in this matter, and the other 11 coconspirators have all been convicted for their roles in the operation.
In 2010, information was obtained that a group was actively distributing large amounts of “crystal” methamphetamine in Terre Haute. Law enforcement launched Operation Octane to target and dismantle the drug trafficking organization. The lengthy investigation included the confiscation of over $100,000 worth of methamphetamine. All told, law enforcement seized and purchased more than two pounds of “crystal” methamphetamine, seized approximately $27,000 in cash, and confiscated 33 firearms, including hand guns and assault rifles. Police officers also seized two pipe bomb explosive devices.
The indictment alleged that the defendants used multiple sources of supply to bring large quantities of “crystal” methamphetamine to Terre Haute. After the methamphetamine arrived in Terre Haute, the conspirators then distributed the drug throughout the Wabash Valley. The indictment alleged that several of the conspirators possessed firearms in connection with their drug trafficking activities.
Approximately 150 law enforcement officers participated in the execution of arrest and search warrants related to this investigation in April 2011. These warrants were executed on residences and individuals in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Crown Point, and Mishawaka. The FBI-Terre Haute Safe Streets Task Force led the seven-month investigation.
Assisting the FBI in the investigation were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department; the Terre Haute Police Department; the Indiana State Police; Clay County Sheriff’s Department; and the Seelyville Police Department.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Matthias D. Onderak, who prosecuted the case for the government, both defendants will serve a term of supervised release upon completion of their prison term. Under federal law, defendants must serve a minimum of 85 percent of their prison term inside of a federal correctional facility.