Another four men of the two dozen people charged with being members in a cocaine ring have entered guilty pleas for their crimes. Among the hardest hit will be 23-year-old Ivan Vazquez-Gonzalez, a citizen of Mexico who is in the country illegally. He has agreed to forfeit $9-million dollars, and that's before he finds out how much time he will spend behind bars, and if additional financial penalties will be levied.
He pleaded guilty in federal court this week to engaging in a criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute with the intent to distribute cocaine, illegal entry into the United States without inspection, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and interstate travel in support of racketeering. He is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on March 30, at which time he could receive a life sentence and a fine of more than $12-million. Also entering guilty pleas to various charges associated with the ring this week were 28-year-old Daniel Ortiz of Granite City, 24-year-old Manuel Ramirez of Fairmount City, and 41-year-old Homero Hernandez-Vega of Mexico, who was also in the United States illegally. Eighteen other co-conspirators have also entered guilty pleas in this investigation.