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Operation Snow Globe: 26 indicted for smuggling heroin and cocaine

Ohio, a state in the middle of opioid epidemic, seems to get no respite from the inflow of dangerous drugs. In an effort to combat the growing network of illegal drug sales and distribution, the Department of Justice, in conjunction with local and state authorities, has busted two large-scale drug smuggling operations through its “Operation Snow Globe.” It involved multiple nighttime raids that were conducted across Northeast Ohio in which 26 people were charged in the federal court for their alleged involvement in trafficking huge amounts of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl into the community.

As per the court documents, in the first case, the three suspects Irwin Jose Vargas (42), Keyra Linnette Martinez (42) and Isidoro M. Gonzalez (41) had arranged shipments of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl from Puerto Rico. The packets included at least 1 kilogram each of heroin and fentanyl and 5 kilograms of cocaine. They sold the drugs to other traffickers in Cleveland, Ohio besides selling them online and at their own business locations. Some 12 other people were charged for the conspiracy.

In the second case, Emad Silmi (43) obtained large amounts of cocaine from Samer Abu-Kwaik (46) and sold it to other drug dealers. He had also obtained large amounts of N-Ethyl Pentylone from Anthony Quinn Greenlee who bought it from China. Silmi further sold N-Ethyl Pentylone to other drug dealers from his business location. Between January 2016 and March 2017, Silmi had obtained more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and 5 kilograms of cocaine. He is also accused of money laundering while Greenlee along with Erkan Nevzadi (29) are accused of using firearms and other weapons to protect the drug trafficking activities.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Matthew J. Cronin.

Suspects and arrests

Out of the 26 suspects, 18 were arrested on Dec. 7, 2017, five had turned themselves, one suspect is in custody on other charges and two fugitives — Victor Felix (39) and William Rodriguez (40) — are at large. As per the law enforcement officials, 15 people have been charged in a 29-count indictment for conspiring to distribute cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and U-47700 (a fentanyl analgoue known as Pink).

“These groups brought hundreds of pounds of dangerous drugs into Northeast Ohio and sold them throughout our community. We will continue to work collaboratively to shut off the flow of drugs and seek long prison sentences for traffickers,” said the U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said in a news release.

The year 2016 saw a 32.8 percent increase in unintentional overdose deaths across the state that involved powerful opioids. As per the data by the Ohio Department of Health, in 2016, fentanyl and other drugs were involved in 58.2 percent of all unintentional drug overdose deaths and carfentanil (a fentanyl-related drug) in 340 overdose deaths. The period also saw a significant increase in cocaine-related overdose deaths, while the number of overdose deaths caused due to heroin remained relatively flat.

Saving your loved ones from drug addiction

At the 24/7 Recovery Helpline, we can help you or your loved ones learn more about addiction, recognize the symptoms and gain access to some of the finest drug rehab programs near you. If you are looking to get more information about drug addiction and related problems, the representatives at the drug addiction help online can help.

If you know someone battling an addiction to drugs, it is time to seek professional help. At the 24/7 Recovery Helpline, we can connect you to the best treatment options at some of the finest rehab centers where various evidence-based treatment is provided in a tranquil setting. You can reach the drug and alcohol helpline by calling our 24/7 number (855) 441-4405 or chatting online with an expert for further information.

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