5 face charges in Lexington trafficking, laundering case. More than $600K in cash seized

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Five people have been indicted on drug trafficking and money laundering charges in a federal drug case that involves the seizure of more than $600,000, according to court records.

The case also involves several weapon seizures, according to an indictment filed in federal court in Lexington last week.

Luis Fernando Lara-Garcia, Tyler Raylee Ipock, Demarkus Leeanthony Nemetz, Alayna Wells, and Tawsif Mohammed Tajwar, face numerous drug-related or money laundering charges for allegedly conspiring to traffic drugs from 2020 to 2022.

The group was working during this time to traffic more than 400 grams of substances with fentanyl in them and more than 5 kilograms of a substance with cocaine in it, according to court documents.

Authorities seized about $650,000 from the group between February 2021 and April this year, according to the indictment. Multiple guns were seized, including a Taurus 9mm caliber firearm, a DPMS Inc. .308 caliber pistol, Model Panther LR-30, a Romarm/Cugir 7.62 x 39mm pistol, a Keltec .22 caliber pistol, a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol, and ammunition and magazines.

Lara-Garcia was charged with conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and five or more kilograms of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and 500 grams or more of cocaine. He was also charged with possessing a gun while being in the United States illegally. He also faces money laundering charges.

Lara-Garcia made his initial court appearance Monday and pleaded not guilty to all his charges. He’s scheduled to go on trial on Oct. 11, according to court records.

If he’s convicted, he could face life imprisonment and up to millions of dollars in fines.

Ipock and Nemetz face charges of conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and five or more kilograms of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and 500 grams or more of cocaine, money laundering, and two counts of conspiracy to launder money.

If convicted, they could both face life sentences and millions of dollars in fines.

Wells and Tajwar face three counts of promotional money laundering. If convicted, each could face no more than 20 years in prison and fines of $500,000 or twice the amount of property seized, whichever is greater.

Nemetz, Lara-Garcia and Wells pleaded not guilty when they made their initial court appearances Monday, according to court records. The three are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 11 at the federal courthouse in Lexington. Court documents regarding initial appearances for Tajwar and Ipock were not immediately available.