Major DEA drug bust in Lexington leads to indictment of four; cocaine and cash seized

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A major drug bust in Lexington, Kentucky, on Tuesday led to the arrest of three individuals, including a man from San Diego, California, who was allegedly found with three kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle. The suspects are currently facing federal charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, according to court records.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) initiated the investigation earlier this year when it received information about a Lexington individual seeking to launder drug proceeds to Mexico. The individual was identified in court documents as Kenneth Berry.

According to the DEA criminal complaint filed by Justin F. Jett, a Task Force Officer, investigators observed Berry leaving a residence in Nicholasville on Tuesday, carrying a large white bag that appeared to contain a box. Berry then drove to The Summit at Fritz Farm in Lexington where he met a gray Honda Ridgeline with Florida registration.

The complaint outlines that a Hispanic male exited the Honda Ridgeline and took the white bag from Berry’s Honda Accord. The man, later identified as Wenceslao Mariscal Vallejo from San Diego, California, placed a dark-colored case in Berry’s car before driving away. Berry was observed driving to the Space Center Storage where the case was placed in a storage unit.

Vallejo was later apprehended at a Thorntons located at 2300 Woodhill Drive in Lexington. After a brief foot chase, Vallejo was detained and identified via his California driver’s license. Upon his arrest, Vallejo informed the authorities about the money and the drugs in his car. A trained canine alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle, and three kilograms of substances suspected to be drugs were located in the spare tire compartment. Two of the three kilograms tested positive for cocaine using a Tru-Narc field test device.

The white bag that originated from Berry’s vehicle was found in Vallejo’s Honda Ridgeline. Inside the bag, law enforcement discovered a large Cinnamon Toast Crunch box filled with vacuum-sealed U.S. currency. The canine also alerted to the presence of narcotics in this bag.

Vallejo admitted to providing two kilograms of cocaine in the case to a woman identified as Makyla C. Steward.

Court dockets show that Berry and Steward, both represented by court-appointed attorneys, are facing charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Vallejo is also represented by a court-appointed attorney and is facing charges of distribution and intent to distribute cocaine.

A grand jury returned indictments against Berry, Steward, and Vallejo on Thursday. An additional defendant, Justin Jenkins, was also indicted Thursday on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. It was not immediately clear what Jenkins’ alleged role in the conspiracy was. The cases are being handled by U.S. Judge Karen Caldwell of the Eastern District of Kentucky in Lexington. Berry, Steward, and Vallejo are scheduled to be arraigned on Friday.

This story was updated July 20.

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