Janesville24.8°

10 face federal cocaine charges

Print Print
Kayla Bunge
May 20, 2008
— Three Janesville men are among 10 who federal prosecutors say were involved in a drug ring dealing pounds of cocaine.

Javit Zepeda, 29, and his father-in-law, Jose Hernandez, 52, both of 515 N. Pearl St., Janesville, are charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine from December 2007 to April 2008.


Jose Quintero, 27, of 2117 Green Valley Drive, Janesville, is charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine from May 2007 to April 2008.


Six Beloit men and a South Beloit, Ill., man also are accused.


Local and federal authorities arrested the 10 suspects Thursday and Friday. They face charges including conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.


Law enforcement officials said they conducted controlled buys of cocaine, wiretapped three cell phones and served search warrants at five homes—two in Janesville and three in Beloit—where they seized cocaine, guns, money, vehicles and other evidence of drug dealing.


First Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen P. Sinnott announced the charges at a press conference Monday.


He called the indictments the “latest chapter” in an ongoing investigation by the Rock County Safe Streets Task Force.


Beloit Police Chief Sam Lathrop said this phase of the investigation took about 18 months.


“Drug investigations take a while,” he said. “These are results worth waiting for. These are significant arrests with significant jail time for the defendants.”


Lathrop said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are likely.


“The people who are anticipating arrest … shouldn’t sleep well tonight,” he said.


Sinnott said “multiple kilograms” of cocaine were seized, but he declined to give an exact amount. He also said the cocaine came from outside Wisconsin, but he decline to specify a location.


Sinnott said he wouldn’t “characterize” the suspects.


“Under federal law … we have to show a suspect is either a danger to the community or presents a risk of flight,” he said. “If we’re successful in obtaining detention, that means one or both is shown.”


Nine of the suspects are being held at the Dane County Jail and the Columbia County Jail. One suspect is out on bond.


If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison for each count. Two of the defendants face up to 40 years in federal prison on the charge of distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine.


Lathrop said the arrests have a significant impact on the community.


“Whenever you take that much product off the street and out of the hands of potential users…you improve the quality of life in our communities,” he said.


DRUG SUSPECTS

Federal and local authorities on Monday announced the arrests of 10 men suspected of dealing pounds of cocaine in Rock County:


-- Javit Zepeda, 29, of 515 N. Pearl St., Janesville, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine from December 2007 to April 2008.


-- Jose Hernandez (Zepeda’s father-in-law), 52, of 515 N. Pearl St., Janesville, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine from December 2007 to April 2008. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of a vehicle.


-- Jose Quintero, 27, of 2117 Green Valley Drive, Janesville, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine from May 2007 to April 2008.


-- Fidel Holguin, 21, of 2081 Prairie Ave., Beloit, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, five counts of distribution of cocaine and one count of distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine from December 2007 to April 2008. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $10,695 in currency, three vehicles and television and stereo equipment.


-- Edgar Miranda, 28, of 1339 Vernon Ave., Beloit, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine from August 2007 to April 2008. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of two vehicles.


-- Gerardo Cepeda, 28, Beloit, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine from December 2007 to April 2008 and possession with intent to distribute cocaine March 24.


-- Edgar Martinez, 25, Beloit, conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine from April 2007 to April 2008.


-- Jose Sanchez, 47, Beloit, possession with intent to distribute cocaine March 19, three counts of using a telephone to facilitate the commission of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute cocaine March 12, 13 and 19.


-- Emmanuel Avila, 34, South Beloit, Ill., conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine from March 2008 to April 2008 and possession with intent to distribute cocaine April 4.


-- Juan Reyes, 22, of 1944 McKinley Ave., No. 8, Beloit, conspiracy to possess and distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine from December 2007 to April 2008.


SAFE STREETS

The Rock County Safe Streets Task Force is local, state and federal law enforcement officials organized to address violent street gangs and drug-related violence. Since late 2004, more than 50 suspects from Rock County have been convicted on federal drug and gun charges as a result of task force investigations. A Rock County task force investigation last led to federal charges in 2006, when cocaine-related charges were brought against five people.



Print Print