For Immediate Release
60 Southside Locos Gang Members and Associates Convicted for Drug Trafficking Operation Directed From Oklahoma State Prisons
Law Enforcement Seize Nearly 200 Pounds of Drugs, 69 Guns, and $300,000 in Cash
OKLAHOMA CITY – A multi-year investigation targeting members and associates of the Southside Locos gang who directed their drug-trafficking activities using contraband cell phones from state prison cells has resulted in 60 convictions through multiple federal and state cases, announced United States Attorney Robert J. Troester.
Last month, the investigation culminated in the sentencing of Eduardo Rosales, 35, of Oklahoma City. Rosales who was one of the incarcerated leaders of this drug trafficking network operated by Southside Locos gang members and their associates. On December 15, 2022, Rosales was sentenced to serve 30 years in federal prison after he completes his current state prison sentences. At the sentencing hearing, the court took into consideration that Rosales used incarcerated associates, non-incarcerated associates, and contacts in Mexico to orchestrate a massive drug-trafficking ring that distributed methamphetamine throughout Oklahoma. The court also noted Rosales’ leadership role in the organization, his continued propensity to engage in criminal activity despite incarceration, the need for long-term incapacitation, and his criminal history. Public records reflect that Rosales holds multiple felony convictions and is currently serving a 15-year term of imprisonment with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC).
Through the course of this investigation, public records reflect that federal, state, and local law enforcement used various investigative tools and techniques, including judicially authorized wiretaps on contraband cell phones being used in ODOC institutions. Defendants used these cell phones to direct trafficking operation outside prison walls, including to coordinate drug shipments from sources in Mexico, instruct couriers to store drugs for them and make deliveries to buyers, and direct third parties to collect and store proceeds of the drug sales.
Crimes for which these defendants were convicted include drug trafficking, drug conspiracy, distribution or possession with intent to distribute, using a communication facility to facilitate drug distribution, use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, felon in unlawful possession of a firearm, and maintaining drug-involved premises.
In this investigation, law enforcement officers seized more than 180 pounds of methamphetamine, approximately ten pounds of heroin, more than 200 grams of cocaine, 69 firearms, and approximately $300,000 in currency. Furthermore, coordination with ODOC Office of Inspector General resulted in the seizure of approximately 12 contraband cell phones and five dangerous weapons from incarcerated individuals associated with the charged conspiracies.
This investigation was led by the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office, the Oklahoma City Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Office of Inspector General, with valuable assistance from the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Harley, David McCrary, and Chelsie Pratt prosecuted these cases.
These prosecutions were part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.