Ohio Senate Gets Bill to Increase Penalties for Drug, Human Trafficking

Cindy Abrams

Stronger fentanyl-related drug trafficking penalties and a requirement to teach high school students the dangers of fentanyl now wait on the Ohio Senate to move closer to becoming law.

House Bill 322, which passed the House with an 80-13 vote but has yet to be introduced in the Senate, is a direct response to both drug and human trafficking, according to sponsor Rep. Cindy Abrams, R-Harrison.

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‘Operation Ghost Busted’ Drug Dealer Sentence Among Highest for Two Overdose Fatalities in Georgia

Jon Dillon Screen

A Glynn County resident, sentenced to 20 years in federal prison as part of Operation Ghost Busted, pled guilty to trafficking the drugs responsible for two overdose fatalities.

32-year-old Jon Dillon Screen of Brunswick, Georgia, pled guilty to trafficking drugs, including the fentanyl that killed Screen’s girlfriend and a man from Brunswick.

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Florida Law Enforcement Shuts Down Fentanyl, Xylazine Trafficking Ring

Florida law enforcement officers and Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution have shut down a trafficking ring in the Orlando area. The group is responsible for pushing large quantities of narcotics, including fentanyl laced with xylazine, into the area.

Moody’s prosecution team is scheduled to prosecute 12 people on drug trafficking charges who are accused of trafficking cocaine, fentanyl, xylazine and amphetamine in the Orlando area.

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Arizona District Attorney’s Office Charges Almost 2,000 Illegal Immigrants with Illegal Entry During First Three Months of 2023

The Arizona District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) released the first quarter of 2023 immigration enforcement statistics for individuals prosecuted in partnership with the Tucson and Yuma Sectors of Border Patrol.

“Reducing migrant smuggling and mitigating the risk to communities impacted by these offenses continues to be a priority for the Office and its law enforcement partners. Some of these prosecutions are directed against leaders and coordinators of alien smuggling organizations. Other prosecutions are aimed at deterring young adult drivers, often recruited over social media platforms, from engaging in this dangerous activity,” the District shared.

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AG Moody: Florida Law Enforcement Shuts Down Major Drug Trafficking Organization Affiliated with Mexican Cartels

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shut down a major drug trafficking operation run by gang members affiliated with Mexican cartels, Moody’s office announced Wednesday.

So far, 25 people have been charged, including SUR-13 (Sureños) gang members who already have multiple felony counts related to drug trafficking, violent criminal acts and conspiracy. They were arrested on a combined 64 first-degree felony counts. Many involved were already incarcerated in prisons in several counties in Florida.

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Leader of Georgia Drug Distribution Ring Sentenced to Federal Prison for Nearly 40 Years

Close-up of barbed wire at a prison

A Georgia inmate was able to orchestrate and execute a drug distribution ring while behind bars that sent narcotics throughout the state, according to the Department of Justice.

Jackie Kavaskia McMillan was sentenced to almost 40 years in prison for operating that drug ring that sent methamphetamine and other drugs, targeting the southern portion of the state.

The additional sentence will be served consecutive to the life sentence that McMillian is already subject to because he was convicted of murder.

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Two Indicted on Dark Web Fentanyl Conspiracy Charges Face 10 years in Prison, $10 Million in Fines

fentanyl pills on the hood of a vehicle

The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of Georgia has indicted two men on federal drug and money laundering charges for their participation in the facilitation of the importation and distribution of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl. 

“Pills in the underground drug market and on the Dark Web are often diluted with dangerous and deadly substances like fentanyl, as was the case in this investigation,” said Robert J. Murphy, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta Field Division.

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Attorney General Mark Brnovich Indicts Man Arrested for Illicit Drug Trafficking

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) announced the indictment of a man recently arrested on drug trafficking-related charges.

“On May 11, 2022, law enforcement arrested [Jose Luis] Montoya Miranda on suspicion of trafficking illicit drugs. Law enforcement located approximately 140,000 fentanyl pills, over 11 pounds of fentanyl powder, 2.11 pounds of heroin, 2.9 pounds of methamphetamine, and a handgun. The charges are based on an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),” according to a statement by the attorney general’s office.

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Arizona Attorney General’s Office Warns That Cartels Use Social Media to Recruit Teenagers in Smuggling Operations

Monday, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) released a press release stating the cartel recruits American Citizens, including teenagers, to smuggle undocumented immigrants into the country through social media.

“Ads on social media intercepted by law enforcement are now offering load drivers up to $2,000 for each passenger picked up at the border and driven north to a specified location. The lucrative deal is not only attracting people as young as 14 years old from the greater Phoenix area but also men and women of all ages and even drivers from out of state, who come to Arizona to cash in on the commute for the cartel. Nearly all of the drivers stopped are U.S. citizens,” according to a press release from the AGO.

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Three Men Charged in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy to Distribute over 1,100 Pounds of Cocaine in the Cleveland Area

Federal law enforcement officials announced the arrest of three men charged in a 30-count indictment for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy that is alleged to have brought over 500 kilograms, or approximately 1,100 pounds, of cocaine from Mexico to be redistributed in the Cleveland area, according to a press release by the Northern District of Ohio U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Arizona Man Arrested for Attempting to Smuggle a Half Ton of Meth, Fentanyl into U.S.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Lukeville arrested an Arizona man for attempting to smuggle approximately 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine and fentanyl across the Arizona-Mexico border.

According to a statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Phoenix man loaded 880 pounds of meth and 110 pounds of fentanyl in his Roadmaster RV; however, the drugs were detected by a narcotics canine.

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Two-Year Drug Investigation Results in 39 Indictments Across Multiple States

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced 39 indictments were made in an ongoing drug investigation. The statement said undercover officers had followed a violent drug trafficking organization with ties to at least three states. 

“This operation is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when agencies work together,” said TBI Director David Rausch. “These dangerous drugs and the violence fueled by those dealing them is having a devastating impact on Knoxville and other areas in East Tennessee. That’s why we have a lot more work to do and will continue to target drug traffickers in our state.”

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Border Patrol Crews Flying Aircraft from Texas, Florida Seized 4.7 Tons of Cocaine in Two Months

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Air and Marine Operations crews operating P-3 aircraft from Texas and Florida participated in multi-agency counter narcotics operations that led to the seizure of 4.7 tons (9,475 pounds) of cocaine worth $179.2 million in a two-month timeframe, according to CBP.

Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents operating along U.S. borders, coastlines and territorial waters are especially trained to combat maritime smuggling. They’re tasked with interdicting unlawful people and cargo approaching U.S. borders and investigating criminal networks, providing domain awareness in air and maritime environments and responding to a range of contingencies.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize Record Amount of Drugs in November, Apprehensions Also Increase

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers apprehended more people in November than October and confiscated a record amount of drugs last month, according to its latest operational report.

In November at the southern border, encounters with unaccompanied minors increased by 9% from October, with family units by 5%, and with single adults also by 5%.

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U.S. Authorities Seize 1.8 Million Illicit Pills Laced with Fentanyl, Point to Social Media for Rising Drug Traffic

U.S. authorities criticized social media for an uptick in drug trafficking following a massive seizure of over a million fentanyl-laced pills and hundreds of drug dealer arrests.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Monday that it, alongside various law enforcement partners, seized over 1.8 million fake pills laced with fentanyl and arrested over 800 alleged drug dealers over the course of a two-month drug bust beginning in August. Authorities have criticized social media companies that have failed to stop the sale of these illicit drugs on their platforms.

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Governor Ron DeSantis Joins Texas Governor Greg Abbott for Border Crisis Briefing

Governor Abbott Hosts Florida Governor DeSantis

Governor Ron DeSantis joined Governor Greg Abbott in Texas for briefing to address the current crisis that is currently happening at the border since the Biden administration lifted multiple border policies issued by former President Trump. 

Florida was the first state to provide help at the border after Governor DeSantis deployed law enforcement in June. 

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Virginia Woman Sentenced to Jail for Laundering Mexican Cartel Money

A former business owner in Virginia has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to using that business to launder money for a dangerous Mexican cartel. 

“Ana Bella Sanchez-Rios, the former owner and operator of a Martinsville business used to launder more than $4.3 million in profits for an international drug cartel, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court to 96 months in federal prison,” according to a press release from the Western District of Virginia. 

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Nashville Woman Pleads Guilty to Involvement in International Drug Distribution Conspiracy That Was Led From Prison

A Nashville woman pleaded guilty to her involvement in an international drug distribution conspiracy, orchestrated from prison, that pumped a large volume of drugs into the Nashville area, according to a statement issued last week by federal prosecutors.

The defendant, Jennifer Montejo, 32, was charged in a criminal complaint on December 12, 2019, with possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 400 grams or more of fentanyl, according to the statement by Don Cochran, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.

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Ohio Couple Sentenced for Conspiring to Import, Distribute Chinese Fentanyl

An Akron couple was sentenced Thursday for their roles in what prosecutors described as an operation that brought large amounts of fentanyl and carfentanil from China for sale in Northeast Ohio.

Donte Gibson, 41, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. His wife Audrey Gibson, 36, was sentenced to 10 years, 10 months in prison. Chief U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan sentenced the pair by video. The Akron couple were arrested in February 2018 and pleaded guilty to drug and money laundering conspiracy charges.

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