26 people charged for allegedly operating Milwaukee drug trafficking organization
The charges were announced Tuesday during a news conference regarding an update on ‘Operation Legend’
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr has announced charges have been filed against 26 people who allegedly operated a violent drug trafficking organization in Milwaukee.
According to Barr’s office, the organization has ties to the Northern and Central Districts of California.
The charges were announced Tuesday when Barr gave an update on what is known by authorities as ‘Operation Legend.’
Authorities say the 26 people who charged are accused of distributing the drugs in the Milwaukee area, and certain defendants shipped drug proceeds during the U.S. Postal Service to co-conspirators in California.
According to Barr’s office, 21 of the 26 people charged are in custody following multiple arrest and search warrants being executed on Tuesday.
Authorities say Louis R. Perez III, one of the 26 who are charged, is said to be also known as “Eight Ball”, and is allegedly a Mexican Posse gang member and a leader of the nationwide drug trafficking organization.
Other alleged gang members, identified as Manuel Soto and Antonio Rodriguez, have also been charged and arrested, and are accused of distributing controlled substances in the Milwaukee area. Two of the defendants, Julian Sanchez and Miguel Sarabia, are said to be California-based, and are alleged to have supplied the drugs being distributed from California.
The 26 people charged in the Milwaukee drug trafficking organization range in age from 18-55, and have been identified as the following:
- Hauseng Yang, 18
- Azia Yang, 18
- Luis Gomez, Jr., 19
- Carina Rodreiguez, 20
- Ger Yang, 20
- Antonio Rodriguez, 21
- Xina Yang, 22
- Gabriel Matteson, 22
- Jose Alvarado, 23
- Louis Rey Perez III, 23
- Julian Sanchez, 24
- Shayla Knueppel, 24
- Hector Arenas, 27
- Ival Galan, 27
- Kevin Taylor, 28
- Jasmine Perez, 28
- Chong Yang, 28
- Manuel Soto, 28
- Mercedes Herbert Gonzalez, 29
- Mary Yang, 29
- Ma Yang, 32
- Michael Bub, 33
- Miguel Sarabia, 45
- Esteban Reyes, 46
- Louis Rey Perez, Jr. - 46
- Michele Hart, 55
According to Barr’s office, all of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine or 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, and face a mandatory minimum of 0 years in prison, or up to life in prison, if convicted.
Some of the defendants are also charged with a conspiracy to launder money, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
The money laundering charge penalties include up to 20 years in prison, and the firearm possession with drug trafficking charge penalty is a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, with the possibility of serving a life sentence in prison.
The search and arrest warrants resulted in nearly three dozen firearms being recovered, including a stolen Milwaukee Police Department firearm, and a firearm with an obliterated serial number, according to officials.
In addition, more than 700 grams of heroin was found at one location, $170,000 in U.S. currency, as well as additional heroin, cocaine and marijuana from other locations.
Authorities say more than 3,500 arrests have been made since ‘Operation Legend’ was launched in July, with about 200 of the arrests for homicide.
At this time, officials say more than 1,000 firearms have been seized, as well as nearly 19 kilos of heroin, more than 11 kilos of fentanyl, more than 94 kilos of meth, nearly 14 kilos of cocaine and more than $6.5 million in drug proceeds.
Authorities add the amount of fentanyl is enough to deliver more than 5 million fatal doses.
In addition, authorities say 47 defendants out of the 3,500 arrested during the operation have been charged with federal crimes in Milwaukee.
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