Sentencing delayed for defendant in drug case

Allison Perdue, 24, of Seymour Perdue was booked into Bartholomew County Jail on April 28 and released to an undisclosed federal agency the same day. Perdue is facing a federal charge of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. Submitted Photo

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge has pushed back the sentencing date for a Seymour woman who has agreed to plead guilty to charges related to an alleged conspiracy to transport drugs from the U.S.-Mexico border and distribute them in Bartholomew County and elsewhere.

U.S. District Judge James R. Sweeney II moved the sentencing hearing for Seymour resident Allison Perdue from April 17 to May 23, according to filings in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.

Perdue’s attorney had requested the delay because they had retained a mitigation specialist to help them prepare for sentencing. Her attorney also said they had requested documents from institutions, but “not all have been received.”

In addition, her attorney is scheduled to go to trial in a separate case around the time of the previous sentencing date, which she said would prevent her from “adequately preparing for the sentencing hearing.”

Federal prosecutors did not oppose the request to push back sentencing.

Last year, Perdue filed a petition to plead guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, according to court filings.

Each charge carries a potential maximum sentence of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release, court records state.

Federal authorities allege that Perdue and more than a dozen other individuals, including several residents of Bartholomew and Jackson counties, were part of a drug trafficking network that used a number of couriers and mailing companies to transport methamphetamine and other substances from the U.S.-Mexico border to Indianapolis.

From there, the drugs would be handed off to other individuals to distribute in other areas of central and southern Indiana, including Bartholomew and Jackson Counties, according to court filings.

Drug Enforcement Administration officials told The Republic in 2022 that the members of the drug trafficking ring were some of the biggest suppliers of drugs in Bartholomew and Jackson counties — including methamphetamine and fentanyl — and had ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, which experts say controls a wholesale distribution network in the U.S. and elsewhere to get drugs into the hands of local street dealers.

Other local residents who were arrested as part of the alleged conspiracy include Claudio Garcia-Morales of Columbus, Abel Ayala-Garcia of Columbus, Victor Vazquez-Hernandez of Seymour and Erlin Lucero-Asencio, who is a former Columbus resident.

Vazquez-Hernandez was recently sentenced to 10 years, seven months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Garcia-Morales also was recently sentenced to three years and 10 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, including 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Over the course of the investigation, authorities learned that Perdue was responsible for distributing methamphetamine in southern Indiana, according to her petition to plead guilty.

On Dec. 30, 2021, a co-defendant in the case met Perdue at a Columbus motel to deliver methamphetamine to her, the petition states. About a week later, Perdue distributed 84 grams of methamphetamine to an unnamed individual in Columbus on behalf of Seymour resident Victor Vazquez-Hernandez, who also was charged.

On Feb. 25, 2022, Perdue and Vazquez-Hernandez distributed methamphetamine out of a Columbus motel room, at one point receiving two pounds of the drug from two other co-defendants, who authorities allege were acting at the direction of Ayala-Garcia.

On at least two occasions, two defendants involved in the alleged conspiracy delivered two to three pounds of methamphetamine to Ayala-Garcia at his place of employment, the SalvaMex restaurant on the east side of Columbus, court records state.

Federal agents executed a search warrant of a room at the Knights Inn in Seymour in the early morning of April 28, 2022, finding Perdue to be the lone occupant of the hotel room, the petition states. During a search of the room, agents seized a backpack that contained 507 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded gun that belonged to Vazquez-Hernandez.

The decision to postpone Perdue’s sentencing hearing came as the same judge scheduled a May 20 hearing to determine whether Ayala-Garcia and Lucero-Ascencio are aware that they have been offered plea agreements.

The two former Columbus residents have been charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. They are both facing 10 years to life in prison if convicted.

Federal prosecutors had asked the court to “inquire whether defense counsel has communicated to the defendants captioned above any and all pretrial plea offers made by the United States,” according to court filings.

“Formal plea offers have now been extended by the United States to the defendants captioned above. However, the offers have not been accepted by the defendants,” according to the request. “…When viewed against the backdrop of the high potential penalties applicable in this case, the United States respectfully requests that counsel be permitted to address, on the record, whether any plea discussions were ever had between counsel and the defendant, and affirm that any formal plea offers were rejected by the defendant.”