RENO, Nev. – On Monday, three Nevada men pleaded guilty to their participation in a 17-defendant drug trafficking distribution conspiracy that operated in the Reno area in 2018, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich. All 17 defendants now have pleaded guilty and await sentencing before Chief U.S. District Judge Mirada Du.
“Our office, through its vigorous implementation of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, worked together with partner agencies to dismantle a large-scale drug trafficking organization in northern Nevada,” said U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada. “We will continue to aggressively pursue traffickers who push poison into our communities.”
“The FBI is committed to working with our local partners in sophisticated investigations to reduce violence and drug trafficking throughout our state,” said Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI. “This case underscores the impact of the FBI’s increased resources devoted to northern Nevada.”
The men who pleaded guilty on Monday are: Jose Vega, 34; Angel Diaz, 22; and Juan Baca, 45. The other defendants who pleaded guilty earlier this year are: Jose Valentin Mora, 37; Sandy Diaz Tavares, 35; Javier Chavez, 59; Shawn Curl, 36; Marcos Antonio Hernandez-Cisneros, 59; Roberto Mora-Mora, 53; Elizabeth Reyes-Delacerda, 27; Richard Rossall, 53; Ciara Hernandez, 19; Marco Antonio Ramirez, 37; Leon DeJesus Munera, 29; Kelsea Barbara Riley, 28; and Jorge Ayala-Chavez, 44, all of Reno. One defendant, Francisco Meza Recio, 32, of Simi Valley, California, remains a fugitive.
According to admissions and court documents, between January 25, 2018 to June 14, 2018, the defendants conspired with each other to possess and distribute large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in the Reno area, and used their phones to further this drug trafficking conspiracy. On several occasions, Jose Valentin Mora, the conspiracy’s leader, arranged for four co-conspirators to drive to California to pick up a large amount of drugs to bring back to Mora in Reno. Mora maintained a trailer in Reno, where he kept the drugs before distributing them to others, including several co-conspirators. These co-conspirators redistributed the drugs to others in Reno.
According to court documents, much of the evidence establishing the existence of the drug trafficking conspiracy was obtained through Court-authorized interception of Mora’s cellular telephones and the execution by law enforcement agents of 25 search warrants for premises and vehicles. During the investigation, law enforcement agents recovered close to 20 pounds of methamphetamine and 18 firearms.
In a separate case, Jose Valentin Mora pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing a firearm following an earlier felony conviction for drugs that made him ineligible to possess firearms. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a fine of $10,000,000 for his guilty plea in the drug trafficking conspiracy, and a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for his felon in possession case.
Mora’s codefendants, whose guilty pleas correspond to the various roles they played in this drug conspiracy, face a maximum penalty of between 4 years and life in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force with significant assistance by the Reno Police Department, the Sparks Police Department, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James E. Keller and Andolyn Johnson are prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. For more information about PSN, visit www.justice.gov/usao-nv.
RENO, Nev. – A federal grand jury returned four-related indictments today charging 20 alleged members of a Reno drug trafficking and firearms organization for their roles in a large-scale drug distribution ring that operated in the Reno area. Seventeen defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin, and three defendants are charged with firearms-related offenses.
United States Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas office made the announcement.
The 17 defendants charged for their alleged roles in the drug conspiracy are Jose Valentin Mora, aka Cholo and Magic, 36; Sandy Diaz Tavares, 33; Jose Vega, aka Panda, 33; Angel Diaz, 21; Javier Chavez, 58; Shawn Curl, 35; Marcos Hernandez, aka Bigotes, 58; Roberto Mora-Mora, 52; Juana Baca, aka Sneaky, 44; Elizabeth Reyes-Delacerda, aka Chavela, 26; Richard Rossall, aka Monopoly, 52; Ciara Hernandez, 18; Marco Antonio Ramirez, aka Anthony, 35; Kelsea Barbara Riley, 26; Leon DeJesus Munera, 27; and Jorge Ayala-Chavez, 43, all of Reno, Nevada; and Francisco Meza Recio, 31, of Simi Valley, California. Each defendant faces the maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a fine of $10,000,000.
According to allegations contained in the 14-count drug conspiracy indictment and criminal complaint, from January 25, 2018 to June 14, 2018, the defendants conspired with each other to possess and distribute large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in Reno and elsewhere. On several occasions, Jose Valentin Mora, the alleged leader, sold the drugs to his co-conspirators who would then resell the drugs in Reno. To date, more than 18 pounds of methamphetamine has been seized from this drug conspiracy. This amount has an approximate street value of over $300,000.
The three-related indictments charge Jose Valentin Mora, Jose Vega, Jose Mora-Silva, Dagoberto Mora-Silva, and Alberto Acosta-Macias with firearms offenses. Felons Jose Mora and Jose Vega are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm after having a prior felony conviction in Nevada. Jose Mora-Silva is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm while being an alien unlawfully in the United States. Dagoberto Mora-Silva is charged with aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by prohibited persons Jose Mora and Jose Mora-Silva. Jose Mora and Acosta-Macias are charged with possession of a stolen .22 caliber Marlin rifle. Each defendant faces the maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
“As alleged, these defendants trafficked large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in Reno,” said U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson. “Today’s indictments are the latest example of our steadfast commitment to fighting drug trafficking and reducing violent crime in Nevada’s communities. Together with our law enforcement partners we are committed to protecting Nevadans and making our communities safe.”
“Law enforcement partnerships made this operation a success,” said Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse. “Drug trafficking organizations bring gun violence to our neighborhoods and take advantage of the addiction problem our community and our nation faces. Working together with our partners enabled us to identify key elements of the organization and effectively shut it down. I am very proud of the hard work of the Northern Nevada Safe Street’s Task Force. As a result of this large scale operation, a well-organized drug trafficking operation has effectively been dismantled, and the community of Reno is safer.”
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
These charges stem from an investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force with significant assistance by federal, state, and local law enforcement partners including the Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department, and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Keller is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. For more information about PSN, visit www.justice.gov/usao-nv.