Sting nabs suspects, drugs and cash

Update: 4:31 pm
SPRINGFIELD -- Police believe they've plugged a huge hole in the flow of drugs into our area. They announced a bust Tuesday which includes the arrest of Eddi Ramirez, of Paxton. He's charged as the ringleader of a group police say funneled millions of dollars worth of cocaine into Central Illinois.

17-others are tied to Ramirez. Most have been arrested. Police are still looking for three suspects.

It's all laid out in a 40-page complaint that reads like a novel. It says the men stashed drugs and money at a home on East Court Drive in Decatur.

Through the investigation, officers seized more than 10-kilos of cocaine, 3-kilos of heroin and nearly $1-million cash. Ramirez was allegedly in charge of the group which smuggled the drugs from as far away as Texas.

Police say closing it down will make a huge dent in the drug trade. U.S. Marshals are still looking for 3 of the 18-suspects in the case.

All involved face at least 10-years in prison if convicted, including the alleged ring leader, Eddi Ramirez.

His brother, Jesus, was just convicted earlier this month in Sangamon County for the attempted murder of a police officer. Officials say it's unclear whether Jesus is tied to this case.

Original: 12:54 pm
SPRINGFIELD -- 18 people are arrested in connection with an investigating into cocaine trafficking. Authorities consider 30-year old Eddi Ramirez, of Paxton, a central figure in the trafficking networks involving Springfield, Decatur and Paxton.

The sting, known as "Operation Tres Cuidades" (Three Cities) charged people from Texas, Tennessee,, Decatur, Rantoul, Calumet City, Springfield and Elgin as being involved in the network.

Investigators seized more than 10-kg of cocaine, 3-kg of heroin and more than $855,000 cash. An alleged drug "stash house" was identified at 76 E. Court Street, in Decatur.

Ramirez' brother, Jesus, was ordered detained by federal officers, but was convicted earlier this month in Sangamon County for two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, plus single counts of armed violence and possession of more than 900-grams of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Others taken into custody include:

Teravena "Tera" Kapraun, 21, Decatur
James Lampley, 55, Decatur
Anthony "Tone" Cunningham, 26, Springfield
Alex Gardener, 28, Springfield
Jourdan Jullinger, 20, Springfield

Felipe Quionones, Jr., 31, Houston, TX
Juan Vorrath, 55, Houston, TX
Erica Kulak, 23, Elgin, IL
Leonardo Aldape-Hernandez, 22, Calumet City, IL
Gabriel "Cuz" Lopez-Saucedo, 27, Calumet City, IL
Guadalupe Onate-Herrera, 28, Calumet City, IL

Three other Springfield men, with alleged ties to Ramirez were previously charged. 37-year old Orlandon Roberson stands trial November 6, for a charge of possession with intent to distribute 28-grams or more of crack cocaine.

31-year old Bernardo Shanklin will be sentenced October 18, after entering an open plea of guilty to three counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute.

32-year old Michael Gant will be sentenced October 5 after pleading guilty to charges of possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

Authorities are still searching for the following fugitives associated with this investigation:
Jose Aguilar-Mendez, 21, last known address Decatur
Juan Alvarado, 31, last known address Decatur
Geraro Gamboa, 20, last known address Rantoul

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