At least three of the 40 people who were involved in an interstate drug ring have ties with Elkhart County.
As many as 40 people were indicted on charges that include distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, PCP and acid. The network extended to California, from where, according to a document filed in federal court, individuals would ship methamphetamine to Indiana. Heroin was also distributed from the Chicago area, according to the indictment.
Oscar Perez, 26, imprisoned at Westville Correctional Facility, was one of two ringleaders. The other leader was Justin Addler, imprisoned at Pendleton Correctional Facility.
Perez was convicted of murder in Elkhart County in 2006 and sentenced to 85 years in prison, after he shot 14-year-old Rogelio Reyes Fernandez and wounded Saul Rodriguez following a gang-related argument. Perez’s brother, Antelmo Juarez, 21, was found guilty of attempted murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison. Juarez was also incarcerated in Westville and was also a part of the drug ring.
Perez and Addler maintained communication through cell phones that were smuggled by several prison officers, according to the indictment.
Another Elkhart resident, Guillermo Belmares, 18, was also a part of the ring, driving meth to Indianapolis. Belmares was arrested July 5 after shooting an investigator from the Elkhart County Prosecutor’s office. According to the indictment, Belmares and another woman, Erika Tadeo, 19, drove to Indianapolis to distribute meth on June 24 in exchange for about $7,000.
Though one prison officer, Jon Dobbins, was arrested in connection with the network, the indictment suggests other officers were involved in smuggling cell phones to the inmates in the ring.
Tim Horty, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, said as of Friday afternoon, he could not share any more information aside from what the indictment showed.