‘A major drug distribution organization has been dismantled’ as seven others are charged with trafficking conspiracy
SAGINAW, MI — With a flurry of search warrants executed this morning, seven more Saginaw County residents have been federally charged for their alleged roles in a large-scale drug smuggling operation tied to Mexico.
Strikingly, the alleged plot involved the many participants discussing their illicit affairs over the telephone, over lines tapped by federal authorities.
At the end of March, a Ricardo Delgado II, 48 years old; Gregory M. Hayes, 46; Austin A. Saucedo, 20; Aristeo V. Delgado, 20; and Jonathan O. Coronado, 26, have been charged by the federal government with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin.
On May 4, a federal grand jury returned a 17-count superseding indictment, charging the five previous defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin and to use a means of communication. Six other defendants were also charged: Adam J. Rosas, 35; Michael A. Pratt, 51; Charles E. Parks, 51; Jarquaze A. Townsend, 32; Teyana L. Frills, 29; and Antwon G. Chills, 36.
All of the defendants are residents of Saginaw, with the exception of Parks, who resides in Bridgeport Township.
On the morning of Thursday, May 5, a coalition of local, state, and federal law enforcement executed numerous search warrants in Saginaw and Detroit, leading to the arrests of Rosas, Pratt, Parks, Townsend, Frills, Shivers, and of a seventh person, Cecil Peoples, 54 years old.
Court records say Peoples’ home was among those raided on Thursday morning. During the search, federal agents found five firearms, approximately a quarter ounce of cocaine, a digital scale and numerous bags. As Peoples has numerous felony convictions, he is prohibited from owning firearms.
Peoples is now charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, felony in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm in pursuit of a drug-related crime.
The indictment states that since at least the fall of 2021 and until at least March 22, 2022, several of the defendants conspired to obtain and sell cocaine and heroin.
This investigation was conducted by the Mid-Michigan Safe Streets Task Force and Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (or BAYANET) with the assistance of special agents from the FBI Detroit Division-Bay City Office, special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and law enforcement officials from the Michigan State Police, Bay City Public Safety Department, Midland Police Department, Saginaw Police Department, Saginaw Township Police Department, Bridgeport Township Police Department, Bay County Sheriff’s Office, and the Strike Team Narcotics Investigation Group (or STING).
Late on the night of March 22 and the following morning, federal authorities executed six search warrants stemming from an FBI investigation involving wiretaps.
The warrants led law enforcement to find 30 pounds of cocaine hidden in a vehicle, more than $200,000 in cash, 13 firearms, suppressors and triggers to fire firearms in a manner machine at the Saginaw home of Ricardo Delgado. At two Saginaw homes associated with Hayes, law enforcement found 2 kilograms of cocaine, $25,000 in cash, a short-barreled shotgun and a handgun. Hayes also had $9,000 in cash on him when he was arrested.
In a March 28 hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Turkelson said Ricardo Delgado and Hayes were partners in a large drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing kilograms of cocaine and heroin in the area. of Saginaw. He described Ricardo Delgado and Hayes as “the tip of the spear when it comes to this drug trafficking organization”, saying there is no one higher in the ranks than them.
“The investigation showed that Delgado has a direct line with co-conspirators in Mexico, with whom he works to obtain the controlled substances on a regular basis, approximately every two weeks or so,” Turkelson said. “It appears that Delgado and Hayes are working together to bring over 25 kilograms of cocaine every two weeks for distribution.”
Delgado and Hayes each have their own staff to distribute the drugs, Turkelson said. Delgado relied heavily on Saucedo, Coronado and Aristeo Delgado to help him as runners.
“Delgado had been heard that he had shooters working for him and he also wanted to have more shooters,” Turkelson said.
The warrants for the march were executed after FBI agents listening to wiretaps overheard Ricardo Delgado ordering a murder in retaliation for Coronado having a kilo of cocaine and his vehicle stolen, Turkelson said.
Police intercepted Ricardo Delgado and Saucedo as they were apparently on their way to the hit. Police could not immediately locate Coronado as he was also believed to have headed to the affected site.
Because they couldn’t find Coronado, the police feared the shooting could happen again. Because of this, they decided to drop the wiretap and arrest Delgado, Hayes, Saucedo, and Aristeo Delgado as soon as possible.
That evening, officers arrested Ricardo Delgado, Aristeo Delgado, and Saucedo at the Flying J’s Travel Center at 3475 E. Washington Road in Buena Vista Township near Interstate 75. Shortly after, they arrested Hayes in a Lowe’s store and also arrested Coronado in Ricardo. Delgado’s house in possession of a gun.
“With these arrests, a major drug distribution organization has been dismantled,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison. “I want to thank the entire law enforcement team who worked so hard on this case. This case demonstrates cooperation and teamwork at its best.
“The FBI is proud to work closely with each of the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies involved in executing today’s arrest and search warrants,” added James A. Tarasca, special agent in charge of the FBI in Michigan. . “An operation of this magnitude goes a long way to making our neighborhoods safer from violent drug gangs.”
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