Drug sentencings involve prison, possible deportation

Three natives of Mexico who were arrested during what Columbus police officers say was one of their largest drug operations of 2014 have been sentenced in Bartholomew Circuit Court.

Multiple law enforcement agencies seized a large amount of cocaine, along with heroin, methamphetamine and $20,000 in cash at two locations on the same day late last summer.

Juan Geronimo Espinoza, 33, was ordered to serve a 10-year prison term in exchange for pleading guilty to one count of possession of cocaine as a Level 4 felony. He originally was charged with dealing in cocaine, which could have carried up to 12 years imprisonment.

Jose Macego Lopez, 19, was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to one count of possession of cocaine and maintaining a common nuisance.

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Neither Columbus resident, however, was the main target of the multiagency drug investigation that led to their arrest. Court records show the top suspect was Alfredo Dominguez-Silverio, who also had been living in Bartholomew County.

While Dominguez-Silverio received a two-year prison term July 23, court records show Judge Stephen Heimann has also taken steps that are likely to result in his deportation.

On Sept. 10, both local and federal undercover narcotics officers were following Dominguez-Silverio, 28, as he visited Lopez’s mobile home twice in the Northside Trailer Park, three miles north of Columbus off U.S. 31, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Knowing that Dominguez-Silverio did not have a driver’s license, investigators pulled him over and found cocaine above a sun visor in his pickup truck and a significant amount of cash, the affidavit stated.

Both items provided officers with probable cause to search the mobile home, which had been acquired by Lopez just two weeks earlier.

During the mobile home search, police found an extensive amount of narcotics that included methamphetamine in a number of rooms and cocaine in a brick form kept inside a lock box, the affidavit stated.

This was one of two large-scale drug operations outlined in the 2014 annual report of the Columbus Police Department. The other involved Timothy Ford Jr., 20, of Indianapolis.

On Sept. 30 of last year, Ford received a 12-year sentence after he was arrested near the Edinburgh Premium Outlets mall in June for exchanging 20 grams of heroin for $2,000.

“These examples further indicate not only our success in investigations but the cooperative efforts we have with other state and federal agencies,” Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde said.