Large-scale drug dealers get 10-year sentences

The last of four foreign-born Columbus residents involved in a large-scale cocaine and methamphetamine operation have been sentenced.

Both Albin E. Asencio, 30, and Erlin Lucero-Asencio, 24, received 10-year sentences with the Indiana Department of Correction from Bartholomew Superior Court 1 Judge Jim Worton.

While the judge gave both men credit for time served, neither received any suspended time or other considerations from Worton last week during their sentencing hearings, court officials said.

Now that the two have been convicted and sentenced for a Class B felony, federal authorities are now free to request deportation proceedings that might send both men back to their native country of Guatemala.

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Erlin Lucero-Asencio originally was accused of selling an ounce of methamphetamine to a confidential informant in the early summer of 2013 in exchange for $1,800, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

A few weeks later, a similar purchase of the same drug took place involving two ounces for $3,500, the affidavit stated.

Albin Asencio originally was accused of selling cocaine twice in the late spring of 2013, court documents state. In both cases, a half-ounce of a narcotic was provided in exchange for $600, the affidavit states.

The pair chose public places to sell narcotics, occasionally making the buyer travel to two or more locations in an effort to avoid surveillance, the affidavits state.

The other two defendants captured during the same investigation received 10-year prison sentences last year.

The case against Jose Rodrigo Dominguez-Cruz was overseen by now-Senior Judge Stephen Heimann, while Worton handed down judgment for Carlos M. Martinez Perez. Both also face possible deportation to their native country of Mexico.

The four arrests on Dec. 18, 2015, are widely considered to be the first major enforcement breakthroughs for the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

The combined unit of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s office was formed earlier in 2015.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.