Local suspects arrested in federal drug case

Two people in Columbus and two in Seymour were arrested Thursday and are among 18 people in central and southern Indiana indicted by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking and money-laundering charges, authorities said late Friday.

Abel Ayala-Garcia, 31, of Columbus was arrested on federal charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and money laundering, and Claudio Garcia-Morales, 35, Columbus, was charged with federal county of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, federal officials said. A third resident, Antonio Cuautle-Cuenca, was charged in state court in Bartholomew County with Level 2 felony dealing methamphetamine in conjunction with the investigation.

Victor Vazquez-Hernandez, 41, and Allison Perdue, 24, both of Seymour, were charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

Additionally, five people were charged with Level 2 felony dealing methamphetamine in state court in Jackson County. They are: Mariah Crowe, Samantha Farris, Zachariah Farris, Emilio Landa-Laganes and Daniel Parrish.

Additional arrests were made Thursday in Indianapolis, Terre Haute and Detroit, Michigan. Three of the 18 suspects remain at large.

To date in the investigation, authorities said they have seized approximately 82 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately 1,750 fentanyl pills, approximately 35 grams of fentanyl, approximately 1 kilogram of cocaine, approximately 4 pounds of marijuana, and a large quantity of suspected THC gummies. In addition to drug seizures, authorities have seized approximately $9,000 in U.S. currency as suspected drug proceeds, as well as nine firearms.

The arrests and indictments were announced Friday afternoon in a statement issued by Zachary A. Myers, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Michael Gannon, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Indianapolis Field Office, and Bryant Lucas, chief of the Seymour Police Department.

Other agencies assisting in the investigation include the Columbus Police Department, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, the Bartholomew County Prosecutors Office, the Indiana State Police, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Jackson County Prosecutors Office, the Brownsburg Police Department, and the Bloomington Police Department.

The federal conspiracy charges carry minimum penalties of 10 years years in prison and the money laundering charges a minimum of 20 years.

The prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF “identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks,” federal officials said.