Cocaine trafficking ringleader sentenced to 360 months in prison

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The ringleader of a Houston-based cocaine trafficking operation has been sentenced in the Southern District of Illinois to federal prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, bringing to a successful close an investigation and prosecution that spanned several states and more than five years. 

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois reported in a news release that on Tuesday, June 21, Samuel Ruben Caraway, 46, was sentenced to 360  months  in  prison  and  five  years  of  supervised  release  for  his  role  in  a  drug  trafficking conspiracy that resulted in the seizure of $1.2 million dollars in cash, $72,000 in jewelry and several kilos of cocaine.

Caraway was captured in Texas in July 2021, after being a fugitive for more than three and a half years.

An indictment filed on Jan. 4, 2018, charged that Caraway was the leader of a Houston-based group  responsible  for  distributing  more  than  $4  million  dollars’  worth  of  cocaine  throughout Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Georgia. 

Caraway and eight co-defendants were named in the indictment. 

The United States also seized $1,212,934 in U.S. currency, along with jewelry appraised at $72,000.

All the other defendants previously pleaded guilty, and Caraway was the last member of the group to be sentenced.  

Each of his co-defendants  also  received significant prison sentences – Victor Johnson (188 months), Sammy Monroe (168 months), Rodney Smith (147 months), Dana Bell (87 months), Nahum Shibeshi (48 months), Astin Allison (151 months), Terrance Miles (121 months) and Jamie Green (262 months) – after it was determined that they were responsible for trafficking approximately 120 kilos of cocaine into Southern Illinois.

The investigation was conducted as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, OCDETF. 

The OCDETF initiative brings federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and resources together to identify, target and dismantle large national and international drug trafficking organizations.  

The   investigation   was   conducted by agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The  case was prosecuted by  Assistant United  States Attorneys Steven D. Weinhoeft and David D. Dean.


The Gazette-Democrat

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