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Last updated on Wednesday, March 27, 2013
(TERRE HAUTE) - It was a drug trafficking operation that reached all the way from Terre Haute to the West Coast. Now, all the main players are in police custody, but you may be surprised to hear, it’s a repeat story.
Rondrell Moore of WTHI reports that police said the man behind it all copied his own methods. You may remember Wesley Hammond was charged in 2011 with running a drug operation from inside prison, with a cell phone.
He was sentenced to a life term without the possibility of parole. U.S. attorneys said just a little later, in 2012, he was at it again.
Here's a list of those indicted:
-Ray Hashi Rivera
Officials said these people worked with Hammond to circulate more than $30,000 worth of meth around Terre Haute.
U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett said Hammond smuggled in two cell phones into a state prison. From there, he coordinated with Ivan VanBuren of California to get the drugs.
Then, the two got four more people from Terre Haute to transport it all the way to Indiana. From there, the drugs were given to traffickers in the city. It was an 8 month investigation.
Tuesday morning, the FBI served warrants to everyone involved.
Hogsett was frustrated by Hammond's repeat actions, but he calls the bust a major blow in the war against drugs in the area.
"Is it frustrating for law enforcement to see somebody like Wesley Hammond do this twice? Of course it is! But the fact remains that both in the first case against Mr. Hammond and now this second case against Mr. Hammond, he seems to be bringing us just more and more defendants," Hogsett said.
News 10 asked how Hammond could get access to cell phones after being convicted for the same charge previously. Officials wouldn't say how he smuggled them in.
However, they assured that Hammond was taken to a place in prison were he will not be able to acquire a cell phone again.
Each defendant faces a minimal charge of 10 years in prison. They'll appear in federal court Wednesday.
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