Criminal complaint details homicide charge against suspected cartel member

Investigators say he admitted shooting the man over an unpaid drug debt
Published: Jun. 7, 2021 at 3:02 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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Updated to show homicide charge is now filed against Manuel Herrera-Hernandez.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A suspected Mexican drug cartel member arrested in a Brown County bust is now charged in the killing of a man in Oconto County.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News details newly released allegations against Manuel Antonio Herrera-Hernandez, 32. He’s been charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide.

On Feb. 22, investigators were called to a report of a dead man in a ditch near 4342 Lade Beach Road in Little Suamico. A medical examiner and forensic pathologist examined the victim and found gunshot wounds in the left arm, left side, chest, right side, right armpit and back. The victim, who was not identified, also had a cut to the left ear and side of the head.

Investigators found a phone in the victim’s pocket and took it into evidence. They used the data on the phone to develop the case against Herrera-Hernandez. They knew Herrera-Hernandez to be a methamphetamine dealer, according to the complaint.

Months passed and Herrera-Hernandez was arrested May 17 in a drug investigation in Brown County. A woman arrested with Herrera-Hernandez told investigators that the victim of the Little Suamico shooting was also known to deal drugs.

On May 18, Oconto County investigators interviewed Herrera-Hernandez about the Little Suamico case. He stated that the victim owed him money for drugs. Herrera-Hernandez said he picked up the victim at a home on Walnut Street in Green Bay. Herrera-Hernandez, the female suspect and the victim drove north to Little Suamico and parked at a remote location in the Green Bay Shores State Wildlife Area.

Herrera-Hernandez said he was armed with a gun and there was an argument. He claimed the victim attempted to get the gun from him and there was a struggle over the weapon.

“Herrera-Hernandez stated that the gun just went off,” reads the complaint.

Herrera-Hernandez saw the victim on the ground “in pain.” He assumed because the victim had a phone, he would call 911.

Herrera-Hernandez and the female suspect drove to Clintonville.

No court date has been set for Herrera-Hernandez in the Oconto County case.

BROWN COUNTY DRUG CASE

Herrera-Hernandez is being held on a $150,000 cash bond in Brown County on 15 counts related to the drug operation. He told investigators that drugs had been sent to him from the “New Generation Drug Cartel” out of Mexico. Seized during searches in the case were:

  • 1,812 grams meth (4 pounds)
  • 24 grams heroin (almost 1 ounce)
  • 58 grams fentanyl (2 ounces)
  • 16.3 grams cocaine (over half an ounce)

A special agent from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation had been doing surveillance of Herrera-Hernandez at a home in the 500 block of 15th Street in Green Bay as part of an ongoing drug investigation.

On May 17, Herrera-Hernandez was pulled over for a traffic stop and a K-9 was called to the scene. The Brown County Drug Task Force says officers seized 44.71 grams of the powerful opioid fentanyl and 360.93 grams of meth. Officers also seized money and cell phones.

On May 18, the drug task force and DCI executed a search at hotel room in Allouez where Herrera-Hernandez was staying and found cocaine, 3.76 grams of “black tar heroin,” meth and more phones.

Another search was performed at a suite in the hotel where officers located heroin, cocaine and meth. Officers found a “drug ledger” that contained names and amounts owed. They found used syringes. More cell phones were seized.

On the same date, investigators executed a search warrant at the home in the 500 block of 15th Avenue in Green Bay. They seized 16.25 grams of cocaine, 13.88 grams of fentanyl, 20.33 grams of heroin, and 1,451.50 grams of meth. Drug paraphernalia and cell phones were seized. Investigators found $8,800 in cash. A sawed-off shotgun was seized.

The complaint says Herrera-Hernandez and two others who were taken into custody lived at the Green Bay home. Searchers found bills and pay stubs with Herrera-Hernandez’s name. “Said reports indicate this is consistent with money transfer documents located in the 15th Avenue residence,” reads the criminal complaint.

Herrera-Hernandez told investigators that the drugs belonged to him and had been provided by the cartel.

We searched federal court records and found Hernandez was “physically removed to Mexico... in February of 2013″ following convictions in Virginia in 2010 for possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and a firearm violation.

In 2018, in federal court in Wisconsin, Hernandez was charged for illegal re-entry after an aggravated felony. In a letter to the judge, he wrote, “poor choices led to his arrest and conviction of a serious drug crime... [and he learned] a lesson that kept him away from drugs or guns since that time.” He was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison.

Since then, Hernandez has been charged in an OWI hit-and-run and other drug cases in Brown, Oconto and Waupaca counties. He was out on a $25,000 bond for a drug case in Oconto during this most recent arrest.

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