Lexington True Crime – Feds break up Lexington cocaine smuggling & money laundering operation



U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington)

Plea Agreement – Orlando Tadeo

Defendant admits these facts:

From December 2021 to February 2022, the Defendant agreed with co-conspirators to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, cocaine in the Eastern District of Kentucky (EDKY). As part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) investigation of drug trafficking crimes by the Defendant and his co-conspirators, agents were conducting surveillance of numerous individuals and target locations. Agents also obtained vehicle tracking warrants for multiple vehicles, including a 2000 Honda Civic, a 2002 Hyundai Elantra and a 2008 Toyota Tacoma.

On February 7, 2022, agents were conducting surveillance at Fort Harrods Drive in Lexington, which was an address known to be used by multiple conspirators in furtherance of their drug crimes. Agents observed the Defendant exit from apartment #20 with a red and black duffel bag in his possession. The agents observed that the bag appeared to be heavy. The Defendant was observed to enter apartment #50 with the bag in his possession. The agents video recorded this activity. Another individual exited from apartment #50 with this same bag and placed it in the passenger seat of a silver 2008 Toyota Tacoma. This individual then got into the driver’s seat of the Tacoma. The Defendant and co defendant Daniel Corona Serratos then exited from apartment #50. Both men entered into the black 2002 Hyundai Elantra. Both vehicles departed the area, traveling in tandem.

Marked patrol units then conducted a traffic stop of the Toyota Tacoma. During the stop, a K-9 conducted an exterior “sniff” of the vehicle and positively alerted to the odor of narcotics. The ensuing search resulted in the seizure of the red and black duffel bag, which was found to contain $181,850.00 in U.S. currency. The Defendant admits that this money was proceeds of drug trafficking crimes. At an approximate value of $36,000 per kilogram of cocaine, the proceeds represent the sale of approximately 5 kilograms of cocaine.

On February 28, 2022, agents were monitoring the GPS location information for the vehicles and discovered that the Hyundai Elantra and the Honda Civic were departing from Fort Harrods Drive and were traveling in tandem. The Defendant was driving the Honda Civic. Codefendant Saul Vera was driving the Hyundai Elantra, and codefendant Daniel Corona Serratos was in the front passenger seat. Both vehicles eventually traveled to a rest stop on I-7 5 just north of exit 127 in Scott County, which is in the EDKY. Corona Serratos got out of the Elantra and was talking on a cellphone. Codefendant Jorge Gonzalez Monteagudo was observed greeting and hugging Daniel Corona Serratos. Codefendant Miguel Angel Homedes then approached both men on the sidewalk and was observed handing Corona Serratos a large duffel bag, which Corona Serratos placed into the rear passenger compartment of the Elantra. The delivery of the duffle bag, and related activity, was captured on video by agents.  Upon the return of the Elantra to Fayette County a short time later, the vehicle was stopped by Lexington Police Department patrol units. A K-9 gave a positive alert to the odor of narcotics from the vehicle. The duffel bag was found in the rear passenger compartment and was searched. The bag contained 10 individual, brick-shaped and vacuum sealed packages. The packages had a gross weight of 13.16 kilograms. A field test showed the presumptive presence of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance.

Also on February 28, 2022, the Defendant, driving the Civic, was followed from the rest stop to Fort Harrods Drive and was observed entering apartment #20. When he exited the apartment, he was carrying a black backpack. Codefendant Jose Nava Ramirez arrived in the silver Toyota Tacoma and picked up the Defendant. The Tacoma was then traffic stopped and a K-9 alerted to the vehicle. Approximately one-half kilogram of cocaine was located in the passenger side floorboard near the Defendant. A field test showed the presumptive presence of cocaine. The Defendant had $1,607.00 in U.S. currency on his person. An additional sum of $32,250.00 was located in the vehicle. Codefendant Jose Omar Nava Ramirez had $10,368.00 on his person. Drug proceeds totaling approximately $44,000.00 represents the proceeds of at least one kilogram of cocaine.

All of the suspected controlled substances were sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Mid-Atlantic Laboratory. The laboratory confirmed that items 5 and 6 contained cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance. The net weight of Exhibit 5 was 9,894 grams of cocaine, while the net weight of Exhibit 6 was 495.9 grams of cocaine, for a total of 10,389.9 grams (or 10.3 kilograms) of cocaine. With the addition of the drug proceeds representing the sale of approximately 6 kilograms of cocaine, the Defendant admits that the total amount of cocaine attributable to him by his own conduct and by the conduct of co-conspirators that was reasonably foreseeable to him is at least 15 kilograms but less than 50 kilograms.

From the criminal complaint:

Following the exchange of the duffle bag at the rest area, DEA Task Force Officer Baker remained on scene. TFO Baker observed Gonzalez and Homedes walk toward the restroom building and onto the semi-truck lot area. TFO Baker got out on foot and followed the two. As TFO Baker got onto the lot, TFO Baker observed Homedes in the driver seat of a semi-truck with the company name of “Landstar” on the driver door and “Landstar” along the side of the trailer. The trailer, per TFO Baker’s observation, bore Indiana registration plate P825909.

At approximately 7:25 am, TFO Baker observed the semi-truck depart the rest stop lot. TFO Baker then conducted continuous physical surveillance on the semi-truck. TFO Baker observed that the semi-truck then took a circuitous route to Paris, KY. The semi-truck traveled northbound on I-75 and exited onto Cherry Blossom Way, Georgetown, Kentucky, at exit 129.

From there, the semi-truck traveled on Cherry Blossom Way to Cynthiana Road, Georgetown, Kentucky. From Cynthiana Road, the semi-truck traveled onto Newtown Pike, Georgetown, Kentucky until it reached Paris Pike, Georgetown, Kentucky. From Paris Pike, the semi-truck traveled east toward Paris, Kentucky. TFO Baker advised that this route was not an economical nor efficient route to take to get from the rest stop to Paris, KY.

At approximately 7:53 am, members of Kentucky State Police conducted a traffic stop on the semi-truck on Paris Pike at Hawkins-Cummins Road, Paris, Kentucky. At that time, Homedes was observed to be driving the vehicle with Gonzalez as a passenger.

After Homedes and Gonzalez were removed from the semi-truck, TFO Baker separately provided Homedes and Gonzalez their Miranda rights in the Spanish language. Homedes and Gonzalez affirmed they understood their rights and agreed to talk and answer questions. Homedes told TFO Baker that he and Gonzalez were friends and work partners, and were traveling from Texas to Paris, Kentucky to deliver the cargo that was in the trailer. Homedes said that he and Gonzalez stopped at the rest stop on I-75 to “switch drivers”, meaning Gonzalez had been driving and needed Homedes to then drive. TFO Baker asked Homedes if he (Homedes) met anyone at the rest stop or gave anyone a duffel bag. Homedes denied meeting anyone at the rest stop or giving anyone a duffel bag. Gonzalez said that he (Gonzalez) and Homedes switched driving responsibility at the rest stop. Gonzalez told TFO Baker that Homedes met someone and gave that someone a duffel bag. Gonzalez denied knowing what was in the duffel bag.

Based on the overall investigation, the suspected drug transaction observed earlier at the rest area, the suspicious route taken by the semi truck to get to Paris, Kentucky, and the inconsistent statements provided by Homedes and Gonzalez, both were arrested.

Defendants in the case:

  1. Orlando Perez Tadeo – Sentenced to 10 years in federal prison
  2. Miguel Angel Homedes – Awaiting trial 3/13/2023 in Lexington before Judge Karen K. Caldwell
  3. Jorge Gonzalez Monteagudo – Awaiting trial 3/13/2023 in Lexington before Judge Karen K. Caldwell
  4. Daniel Corona Serratos; Awaiting sentencing 1/23/2022 before Judge Karen K. Caldwell
  5. Saul Vera – Pled guilty; Awaiting sentencing 1/23/2022 before Judge Karen K. Caldwell
  6. Jose Ramirez – Drug charges were dismissed; Pled guilty to illegal re-entry to the US after being deported.

The documents presented in this Lexington true crime case were retrieved from US District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky CRIMINAL ACTION NO. 5:22-33-KKC-1. They are presented for educational and informational purposes.