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Old 06-04-2010, 06:23
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21 Arrested, More Sought in East Polk Meth Ring Investigation

21 Arrested, More Sought in East Polk Meth Ring Investigation
Detectives Seize a Total of More Than 150 Pounds of Cocaine and Meth and $533,000 Cash

BARTOW | Twenty-one people have been arrested and more than 150 pounds of drugs seized in what the Polk County Sheriff's Office is describing as a large methamphetamine trafficking group operating out of East Polk.

Polk detectives worked with the Tampa U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency office and other agencies in making the arrests and seizing weapons, cash, vehicles and "huge amounts of methamphetamine," according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Authorities seized 128 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, 36 pounds of cocaine, 15 vehicles and $533,450 in cash after a months-long investigation, according to the release. The drugs are estimated to be worth $15 million on the street.

In January, detectives received information that a man from Homestead, Gabriel Cortes, 33, was on his way to meet Erick Chavez, 40, of 1871 Cypress lake Road, Lake Wales, according to the PCSO.

Detectives intercepted Cortes and found about 4 pounds of methamphetamines, according to the release. He was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and driving with a suspended license.

While investigating Cortes, detectives learned Chavez was receiving drugs from Mexico and his brother Homar Chavez, 23, of 148 N. Lake Reedy Blvd, Frostproof, according to the PCSO.

The two brothers were "being counseled" by their father, Crisantos Chavez, 56, whose last know address was 118 Brooks Road, Frostproof, according to the release.

He is wanted on a Polk County warrant accusing him of armed trafficking in cocaine and methamphetamine, and detectives said they think he is living in Morelia, Mexico. He had been arrested by Polk detectives on an armed trafficking charge involving cocaine and methamphetamine and was thought to have fled to Mexico after posting bail.

A third son of Crisantos Chavez, Natalio Chavez, 31, of 4300 Dinner Lake Drive, Lake Wales, is wanted in the current investigation, according to the PCSO.

In late January, Polk detectives learned of another drug shipment involved in the case, and border patrol agents seized about 22 pounds of methamphetamine in a hidden compartment of a vehicle coming from Mexico.

In total, drug interceptions included:

* January 11 – four pounds of methamphetamine intercepted in Polk County originating from Homestead.

* January 27, 2010 – 22 pounds of methamphetamine confiscated at the U.S. border.

* Feb. 1 – 13.2 pounds of cocaine and an estimated $89,000.00 in U.S. currency seized in Hardee County.

* Feb. 22 – 31 pounds of liquid methamphetamine disguised in Corona Beer bottles intercepted in Osceola County.

* Feb. 25 – 10 pounds of methamphetamine and an estimated $267,950 in U.S. currency seized in Gwinnett County, Ga., by DEA agents.

* March 6 – 12.5 pounds of methamphetamine intercepted in Sumter County by Florida Highway Patrol officers.

* March 14 – 23 pounds of methamphetamine intercepted in Okeechobee County.

Check back soon for information those charged.

Arrested in the case Tuesday were:

* Erick Chavez, who was charged with conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, 400 grams or more; conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more. He is in the Polk County Jail on $3 million bail.

* Homar Chavez, who is charged with conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, 400 grams or more; conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more. $5 million bail.

* Morgan Wilson, 20, 1871 Cypress Lake Road, Lake Wales, who is charged with conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more. $1 million bail.

* Antonio Castillo Sr., 49, 105 N. Mulberry St., Lake Wales, who is charged with two counts of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, 28 grams or more; conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine; 200 grams or more; three counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, 14 grams or more; trafficking in methamphetamine, 28 grams or more; trafficking in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more; sale of marijuana; and conspiracy to marijuana. $1 million bail.

* Jose Arriaga, 29, 1849 Cypress Lake Road, Lake Wales, who is charged with conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more; armed trafficking in methamphetamine, over 400 grams; armed trafficking in cocaine, 28 grams less than 150 kilogram cocaine or mixture; use or display of a firearm during a felony; maintaining a dwelling for drug use/sale; possession of drug paraphernalia. No bail.

* Evan Langford, 26, 5151 Valencia St., Lake Wales, who is charged with conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more; possession of methamphetamine; possession of drug paraphernalia; maintaining a dwelling for drug use/sale. Bail $500,000.

* Rodrigo “La Comba” Borja, 30, 4719 Wales St., Lake Wales, who is charged with

conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more. Bail $500,000.

* David Eric Nobles, 30, 129 North Drive, Lake Wales, who is charged with conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, 400 grams or more; conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more – (F1) $500,000.00- Bond: $1 Million

* Alberto Escobar, 36, 2145 Hutchins Road, Fort Meade, who is charged with conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more. Bail $1.5 million.

* Amelia Linamen, 27, 1849 Cypress Lake Road, Lake Wales, who is charged with trafficking methamphetamine, over 400 grams; trafficking in cocaine, 28 grams less than 150 kilograms or a mixture; maintaining a dwelling for drug use/sale; possession of drug paraphernalia. Bail $500,000.

* Antonio Castillo Jr., 28, 105 North Mulberry St, Lake Wales, who is charged with possession of methamphetamine; possession of drug paraphernalia; conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 14 grams or more. Bail $500,000.

* Marcel Roman, 26, 118 Brooks Road, Frostproof , who is charged with conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 14 grams or more. $500,000.

* Cale Hebel, 23, 1871 Cypress Lake Road, Lake Wales, who was charged with possession of marijuana, cultivation of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of prescribed medication without a prescription. Bail $500,000.

* Willie Levens, 30, 6141 Avocado Dr., Indian Lake Estates, who is charged with possession of marijuana, under 20 grams; possession of drug paraphernalia; trafficking in methamphetamine, over 200 grams; and conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine. Bail $500,000.

* Juan Carlos Castillo, 23, 6141 Avocado Dr., Indian Lake Estates , who is charged with armed trafficking in methamphetamine, over 200 grams; maintaining a dwelling for drug use/sSale; possession of cannabis, under 20 grams; possession of drug paraphernalia; and conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more. Bail $500,000.

* Victor Salazar, 23, 6141 Avocado Dr., Indian Lake Estates, who is charged with possession of marijuana, under 20 grams; possession of drug paraphernalia; and conspiracy to traffic in methamphetamine, 200 grams or more. Bail $500,000.

Those previously arrested were:

* On Jan. 11 – Gabriel Cortes, 33, 1640 S.W. Fourth St., Homestead, who is charged with armed trafficking in methamphetamine and driving with a suspended license. Arrested in Polk County,.

* Feb. 1 – Hector Bravo, 39, 5003 W. Central Ave., Bowling Green, who is charged with trafficking in cocaine. Arrested in Hardee County.

* Feb. 22 -- Bernardo Rodriguez, 43, Atlanta, who is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Arrested in Osceola County.

* March 6 – Raul Flores Jr., 20, of Texas who is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Arrested in Sumter County.

* March 14 – Rafela Herta-Aranda, 47, 711 NW 21st Lane, Okeechobee, who is charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Arrested in Okeechobee County.

Those still being sought on warrants are:

* Natialio Chavez, 31, 4719 Wales Street, Lake Wales, who is wanted on conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and conspiracy to traffic cocaine.

* Margarita Avellandeda, 27, 118 Brooks Road, Frostproof, who is wanted on conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.

* Tony Alvarado, 20, 104 Seventh Place, Frostproof, conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine.

* Crisantos Chavez, 56, last known address 118 Brooks Road, Frostproof , armed trafficking in cocaine and methamphetamine.

Ledger Staff Report
Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 7:22 a.m.

http://www.theledger.com/article/201...igation&tc=ar#
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