Indianapolis, IN-(ENEWSPF)- Who says there’s no money in drugs?
Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, joined by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Holley, held a press conference on February 13 to present Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub with more than a half-million dollars in seized drug proceeds to be used for local law enforcement efforts.
“I always enjoy these events, because they allow us to celebrate what I call a win-win-win for Hoosiers,” Hogsett said. “Not only are we seizing the ill-gotten gains of these drug trafficking organizations and improving local law enforcement efforts, but through the clear, transparent federal asset forfeiture process, we’re then able to do all of this at no cost to taxpayers.”
Awards presented today total $503,546.88 and included:
- Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department: $472,075.20
- Marion County Prosecutor’s Office: $31,471.68
“Any day that drug dealers are paying for public safety efforts instead of Hoosier taxpayers is a good day,” Hogsett added. “Thanks to the hard work of the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force and IMPD officers, this money will be put to good use to protect the people of Marion County.”
In early 2011, law enforcement received information that a mechanic’s shop on South Keystone Avenue in Indianapolis was being used to traffic cocaine and marijuana. That information indicated that the drugs were being off-loaded after hours from semi-tractor trailers on a monthly basis, and that the drug proceeds were being sent back to California.
In April 2011, a search warrant was obtained, and IMPD officers interdicted multiple vehicles as they left the business. A search of the vehicles revealed two electronically controlled hidden compartments and 41 bundles of U.S. currency totally nearly $700,000. A subsequent search of the business revealed a stolen firearm. The two vehicle drivers, Rafael Cardenas and Macario Ortiz-Lopez, were arrested and have been convicted in federal court.
In 2011, major drug trafficking indictments by the U.S. Attorney’s Office were up more than 100 percent from where they were two years ago. Drug trafficking seizures increased by more than seven-fold over 2010 numbers.