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"Operation Talisman" Nails Hispanic Drug Gang in Tri-Cities

Compiled by Lewis Loflin

Operation "Operation Talisman" involved over 12 tons of Marijuana linked to the Mexican Cartel. This problem is severe in East Tennessee because the same human trafficking that has placed over 10,000 illegal alien Hispanics into the Tri-Cities region is the same conduit for Mexican drug trafficking. The refusal to deal with lesser crime such as illegal labor, identity theft, welfare theft, etc. in these types of communities creates an atmosphere for even worse crime.

The local press operating under political correctness refuses to bring in these factors to light in particular the Bristol Herald Courier that's an ardent supporter of illegal aliens. The facts speak for themselves and facts are not racism. See Former U.S. attorney says region losing war against drugs.

December 15, 2010 Washington County, Tennessee:

According to Sheriff Ed Graybeal, Jonathan Shell, age 24, previously of 1216 Huffine Rd # 4, Johnson City; was sentenced to 90 months in Federal Prison on Friday the 10th of December 2010. Shell was a co-conspirator in the "Operation Talisman" case in which 33 individuals were indicted. Charges against 2 individuals were dismissed, 2 were acquitted at trial, 1 was murdered in Houston Texas and 2 are still outstanding (believed to be in Mexico). The following are sentences for the individuals who pled guilty rather than face a trial.

Francisco Urbina - sentenced to 120 months
Jaimes Esquivel-Lausin - sentenced to 120 months
Ramon Cervantes-Gomez - sentenced to 120 months
Raymundo Miller-Guerra - Murdered in Houston, TX
Francisco Lozano - sentenced to 46 months
Jose Luis Colunga - sentenced to 240 months
Hector Aceves-Cruz - sentenced to 72 months
Juan Jose Colunga - sentenced to 120 months
Juan Javier Colunga - sentenced to 78 months
Hector Cigarroa - sentenced to probation
Richard Wards - sentenced to 84 months
Jeremy Bennett - sentenced to 72 months
Jonathon Shell - sentenced to 90 months
Rosa Colunga - sentenced to probation
Matt Odom - sentenced to 72 months
Michael Osborne - sentenced to 54 months
Jeff Fair - sentenced to 120 months
Jeff Bailey - sentenced to 57 months
Melody Colunga Bailey - sentenced to 42 months
Kelly Leonard - sentenced to 6 months
Benjamin Collin Brooks - sentenced to 37 months
Derrick Carson - sentenced to probation

The following individuals were found Guilty after a 1 month long trial and were sentenced as follows:

Jesus Huerta - sentenced to 192 months
Wiley E. Barnett - sentenced to 240 months
Carlos Hernandez - sentenced to 72 months
Justin Blake-Saldivar - sentenced to 60 months
Javier Flores-Delacruz - sentenced to 121 months

The 2 co-conspirators listed below are wanted fugitives, anyone with information on their whereabouts are asked to contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 423-788-1414 or your local U.S. Marshal's office.

Guadalupe Avendano-Ruiz Victor Hugo Vizcarra-Lopez

The total of all prison sentences handed down to this point equals 2235 months or 187 years in Federal prison.

All prison time will be served in various Federal Prisons, usually (but not always) dependant on the defendant's family. 100% of the Prison time will have to be served before a defendant will be released. All defendants will have to serve a certain amount of time on supervised release after their release.

Sheriff Graybeal would like to thank agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecutors from the United States Attorney's Office for the long hours of work they put into this case. If not for the cooperative efforts of these agencies this case would have never came to fruition. Sheriff Graybeal would also like to thank all the other state and local agencies as well as private citizens who assisted in this case either by providing manpower or information.

Assistant United States Attorneys Caryn Hebets and Greg Bowman represented the Government at trial.

All information derived from the Washington County Tennessee Sheriff's Dept.