Local suspects arrested in federal organized crime investigation

Multiple people in our area have been indicted by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking and money laundering charges in a organized crime investigation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced on Friday that 15 defendants were taken into federal custody on Thursday, including two from Columbus and two from Seymour. The indictment was unsealed Friday following the initial appearances of the defendants.

Five more people are facing state charges for dealing methamphetamine in Jackson County and one in Bartholomew County.

According to authorities, the investigation has led to the seizure of about 82 pounds of methamphetamine, 1750 fentanyl pills, 35 grams of fentanyl, 1 kilogram of cocaine, 4 pounds of marijuana, and a large quantity of suspected THC gummies. Authorities have also seized about $9,000 in cash as suspected drug proceeds and nine firearms.

Those facing federal charges include 31-year-old Abel Ayala-Garcia, of Columbus, who is being charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and laundering of monetary instruments. 35-year-old Claudio Garcia-Morales of Columbus, 41-year-old Victor Vazquez-Hernandez and 24-year-old Allison Perdue, both of Seymour, are all being charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

In Jackson County, Emilio Landa-Laganes, Mariah Crowe, Daniel Parrish, Samantha Farris and Zachariah Farris are facing local charges of dealing methamphetamine. Antonio Cuautle-Cuenca is being charged with the same crime in Bartholomew County.

The Department of Justice says this is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation. The task force identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States.