(New Buffalo, MI) - The FBI eavesdropped on telephone conversations and text messages to keep track of the activities of an alleged drug kingpin from New Buffalo, according to the latest details contained in the FBI complaint filed against eight suspected ring members in the U.S. District Court at Grand Rapids.
Ivan Huerta Hernandez, 32, of 17813 Behner Road, allegedly purchased large quantities of crack and powder cocaine in Chicago and sold it to dealers for distribution throughout the area.
According to the FBI complaint, the cocaine was shipped from Mexico and delivered to Chicago based on information derived from cell phone calls and text messages in English, Spanish, and a combination of the two languages translated to English. Hernandez had been under investigation since 2020 for running the alleged ring from his residence near Exit 4 on Interstate 94.
About two kilograms of suspected cocaine along with close to $100,000 in cash and two firearms were seized during the execution of search warrants in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.
Seven other people, including Donald Rogers, 62, of New Buffalo, were arrested. Rogers of 16876 Lake Shore Road near Red Arrow Highway was one of the main customers of Hernandez and distributors of the cocaine.
Also arrested were Juan Martinez Camarillo, 36, and Santiago Cardenas, 41, both of Michigan City; Manuel Eudave, 54, of rural LaPorte; Marcus Johnson, 42, of Benton Harbor; Adrian Romero Antunez, 35, of Chicago; and Henry Nichols, 41, of Greenville, South Carolina.
If convicted, Hernandez could go to prison and have his 2004 Porsche Cayenne, 1969 Ford Mustang, and two Toyota Camrys confiscated by federal authorities since it appears those vehicles were obtained with his alleged drug proceeds, according to the FBI complaint.
According to the FBI complaint, Hernandez also drove to Benton Harbor and Merrillville to sell drugs to major customers and collect money they owed him from previous cocaine buys.
The communication between Hernandez and his alleged customers on cell phones and text messages was monitored under a court order for two months beginning August 24, the FBI complaint revealed. In one conversation, Camarillo told Hernandez he was on his motorcycle in LaPorte and would have the cash to allegedly make a major cocaine purchase from him the following day. In addition, Camarillo said, “I’ll have something good for you in the morning for sure.”
Transactions between the two men were made at the home of Camarillo at 416 Cleveland Avenue or after they met at places like the Cigarette Outlet on Indiana 39 just south of the Michigan state line, authorities said.
The FBI complaint also alleges Eudave used his business, Eudave Landscaping, and Stone in northern LaPorte County to launder drug money for Hernandez. For example, during three months starting in June, authorities said company payroll checks totaling more than $22,000 were written by Eudave to Hernandez even though his firm did not employ Hernandez.
Hernandez allegedly left drugs for his customers to pick up at his house when he wouldn’t be there to carry out the exchange physically.