11 indicted in drug trafficking, money laundering scheme

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A federal grand jury indicted eight Missourians, an Illinoisan, and two Californians for participating in a scheme to sell mass quantities of drugs in southern Illinois and across the country.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois said the group planned to move or distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl, five kilograms of cocaine, and 50 grams of methamphetamine in Madison and St. Clair counties between August 2022 and December 2023.

The indictment charged the following individuals with drug trafficking and money laundering:

  • Rogelio Martinez-Becerra, also known as “Rodrigo” or “Chaparro” (Shorty), 35, of St. Louis

  • Jose Manuel Garcia-Ramirez, also known as “Panzon” (Potbellied), 34, of Bakersfield, California

  • Ricardo Lopez, also known as “Ricardito” (Little Richard), 35, of St. Louis

  • Gustavo Torres-Yerena, also known as “Ojos verdes” (Green eyes), 60, of San Bernadino, California

  • Oscar Daniel Barajas-Lopez, also known as “Danny”, 21, of O’Fallon, Missouri

  • Jaime Barajas, 40, of O’Fallon, Missouri

  • Dary Axel Amaya-Gomez, also known as “Colombiano”, 31, of Bridgeton, Missouri

  • Deangelo Barnes, also known as “Lentes” (Glasses), 37, of Florissant, Missouri

  • David Howard, also known as “Siete” (Seven), 52, of Florissant, Missouri

  • Carolina Lopez-Hinojosa, also known as “La Morena” (The Brunette), 39, of Granite City, Illinois

  • Monica Chavez, 26, of O’Fallon, Missouri

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In addition, Martinez-Becerra, Barajas-Lopez, and Chavez were accused of distributing more than 50 grams of meth in Madison County in April 2023.

Martinez-Becerra, Garcia-Ramirez, Barajas-Lopez, Amaya-Gomez, Barnes, and Lopez-Hinojosa are charged with international money laundering conspiracy for allegedly transferring funds from Illinois to Mexico to promote their drug business.

Martinez-Becerra faces three additional counts of international money laundering for moving money from Collinsville, Illinois, to locations in Mexico from May through July 2023. Hinojosa is charged with conducting international money laundering for sending money from Collinsville to Sinaloa, Mexico, in July 2023.

Prosecutors said nine of the 11 named defendants are already in custody and will stand trial at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis.

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