14 defendants indicted in meth trafficking conspiracy

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Friday, Oct. 18, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A federal indictment has charged 14 local defendants conspiring to traffic large amounts of methamphetamine from Mexico to the CSRA.

The charges result from a joint investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, the DEA, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, State of Georgia Pardons and Parole Office, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated in a release, “ This Mexico-based criminal enterprise is alleged to have established its methamphetamine distribution base of operations within the Central Savannah River area and, after an intensive investigation culminated in an extensive law enforcement action this week, those operations have come to a sudden end. The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF) operating out of the Augusta area brought in additional resources from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the DEA, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), as well as officers from the Georgia State Pardons and Parole Office in order to better neutralize this organized and structured international drug distribution enterprise.”

If convicted of the drug trafficking conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a maximum of life in prison and a potential fine of $10,000,000. United States Attorney Edward Tarver said in a release that the United States is also seeking to forfeit various items of personal property involved in the offenses, including $2 million as the alleged proceeds of the defendants’ drug trafficking.

Of the 14 defendants charged, 11 have been arrested :

  • Florentino Binzha- Elisa, 46, of Warrenville, S.C.
  • Gilberto Fabona Gaona, 38, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Jesus Avala Lombera, 32, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Oscar Piedra, aka Oscar Hernandez, 39, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Fidel Sanchez Garcia, 32, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Henri Vertez Travis, 38, of Hephzibah, Ga.
  • Tyler James Barcenas, 21, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Naun Padilla, 34, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Huber Romero, 37, of Augusta, Ga.
  • Victor Eduardo Ovalle, Jr., 20, of Harlem, Ga.
  • Jose Ines Davila, 34, of North Augusta, S.C.

The 3 remaining at large defendants:

  • Eduardo Juarez Gallegos, 44, of Ridgeland, S.C.
  • Jorge Perez Rodriguez, 31, of Harlem, Ga.
  • Maximo Moreno, aka Maximo Castillo, 70, Harlem, Ga.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of these 3 defendants are asked to call the FBI at (706) 722-3702.