Half-million dollars bond for suspected ringleader of Green Bay drug conspiracy

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A day after a marathon court session to set bond for dozens of people rounded up in a drug conspiracy, the suspected ringleader made his court appearance.

Brown County Jail photo

More information came out in court about the higher levels of the operation suspected of trafficking large amounts of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana in Northeast Wisconsin.

Prosecutors say 36-year-old Ruben Ortiz was the head of the entire operation, using family members and friends to sell drugs, including his son.

Ruben Ortiz's bond was set Wednesday at $500,000 based on what prosecutors said about his involvement in the case and his prior criminal record.

The State says, based on the investigation, Ortiz has been involved in gang activity and has numerous sources for cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the area and parts of the United States, and is also involved in money laundering.

Prosecutors say he had at least a kilo of heroin concealed in a car.

His sister, Stephanie Ortiz, co-founder of Black Lives United in Green Bay, appeared in court Tuesday and held on $15,000 bond. Prosecutors say she helped her brother sell drugs and buy luxury cars.

His mother, Nancy Skenandore, who prosecutors say was intimately aware of the drug activity, was held on $50,000 bond.

Investigators say surveillance shows his son, 17-year-old Franklin Ortiz, helped deliver heroin.

Ortiz's suspected co-conspirators in court Wednesday included Gabiel Bonilla, Terry Johnson, and Desmond Jordan. All three were described as "higher level" conspirators.

Bonilla's bond is set at half a million dollars based on his involvement in the case and his prior criminal record.

Johnson's bond was set at $250,000. The 19-year-old Jordan, who prosecutors say sold drugs and collected on drug debts, had bond set at $100,000.

In all, 30 people are accused in the drug operation, facing an array of charges that include maintaining a drug trafficking place, drug possession, and child neglect.

Ruben Ortiz is due back in court on July 1. That's when the criminal complaint is expected to be filed and we'll learn even more details about this lengthy investigation.

Many of the other suspects in the case are due back in court the first week of July.

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