News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news

Drug bust
nets 29 arrests

Agents sever Mexican link
with 27 illegal alien suspects

By Holly Hollman
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2445

Federal and local authorities say they have dismantled a Decatur man's drug-trafficking organization, which supplied dealers in North Alabama and adjoining states.

Twenty-seven of the 29 suspects in the operation are illegal aliens, authorities said. The operation allegedly brought drugs into the U.S. from Mexico.

U.S. Attorney Alice Martin said Oscar Xicotencah Salomon, 34, also known as Javier Hernandez, Jose Delores and "Lo Lo," was allegedly the head of the organization that distributed cocaine, methamphetamine/ICE and marijuana.

"The organization's structure has collapsed," Martin said Tuesday after a multi-jurisdictional task force raided homes in the area.

For two years local and federal authorities have investigated Salomon's alleged activities, Martin said.

On Tuesday morning, a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force comprised of Morgan County, Decatur, Huntsville and Madison County officers as well as agents from various federal agencies, executed 23 search warrants in the area. HIDTA is a federal program that provides federal resources to areas with serious drug-trafficking problems.

27 suspects in country illegally

The task force arrested 29 people in Decatur, Hartselle, Huntsville, Madison, Limestone County, Cullman and Crossville, Martin said, and 27 of those were in the country illegally.

Martin said Salomon's alleged organization brought drugs into the U.S. from Mexico through the Texas border. Martin said the drug-trafficking organization used the interstate system to bring the drugs to North Alabama and then get the drugs to dealers.

Martin said during the two-year investigation and Tuesday's drug busts, investigators seized hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine/ICE, tons of marijuana and many kilograms of cocaine.

Greg Borland, assistant special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said that during Tuesday's busts, investigators also seized ingredients used to make meth, such as a veterinary supplement. They also seized a sawed-off shotgun, two semi-automatic pistols, a rifle and 13 other firearms, along with an undetermined amount of cash.

Chip Lollar with Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the task force arrested 15 people for federal drug crimes and 14 others that agents encountered during the busts.

15 arrested

The 15 arrested on warrants went to Birmingham to appear in federal court. In the next 30 days, their cases will go before a federal grand jury. More charges are pending, Martin said.

The other 14 are illegal immigrants and are in immigration and customs custody, Lollar said. They will go to a federal detention facility in Etowah County. Martin said authorities will investigate how they obtained their false identification.

Huntsville Police Chief Rex Reynolds said the two-year investigation began in Huntsville with the Madison-Morgan County Strategic Counter Drug Task Force, and as it developed, local authorities sought federal assistance.

Martin said to expect future drug raids and more arrest warrants, which investigators will serve in connection with this drug-trafficking organization.

Suspects arrested Tuesday

Suspects arrested Tuesday on federal drug conspiracy charges include:

Oscar Xicotencah Salomon, 34; Manuel Angel Sierra Jr., 20; Michelle Hood, 29; Abraham Salomon, 44; Simon Velasquez, 25; and Alfonso Terriquez, 20, all of Decatur; Octaviano Salomon, 44, of Hartselle; Andres Bello Hernandez, 30, and Jerome Wallace, 28, both of Madison; and Gerrardo Maldonado, 28; Esmir Jacobo Bojorquez, 31; and Feliciano Leon Leon, 33, all of Huntsville.

The following individuals were arrested in separate complaints, which also charge drug conspiracy:

Esmir Franco-Samudious, 38, of Huntsville; Wendy Padilla Alejandro, 18, and Nahum Cuevas, 24, both of Decatur.

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