(STL.News) – U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that a 15-member drug trafficking operation has been dismantled following the conviction of the final defendant involved in the organization. On September 23, 2020, a jury in Kalamazoo convicted Luis Ayala-Vieyra of conspiring to distribute cocaine and two counts of distribution of cocaine after a three day trial. He faces up to twenty years in prison and will be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney in the next three to four months.
Luis Ayala-Vieyra was arrested in Grand Rapids in August 2019 during the takedown of the cocaine ring. His arrest followed a long term investigation into a group of drug dealers in the Grand Rapids area. Fourteen other defendants previously pleaded guilty.
The evidence at trial demonstrated that Luis Ayala-Vieyra and his brother, Inocencio Ayala-Vieyra, bought cocaine from a source of supply in Chicago, Illinois. They broke down the cocaine and distributed it to a network of retail dealers in the Grand Rapids area.
“Yesterday’s verdict is the culmination of the hard work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, local law enforcement, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said U.S. Attorney Birge. “My office is committed to disrupting drug sales and dismantling drug trafficking organizations to keep Michigan communities safe.”
“This verdict is a clear indication of the progress made by DEA and our state and local partners in the fight against drug trafficking,” said Keith Martin, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the DEA. “We will continue to employ our combined resources to investigate and bring to justice those who disregard laws and distribute illicit drugs in Western Michigan communities.”
This case was investigated by the DEA, Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, Metropolitan Enforcement Team, Grand Rapids Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Roth and Alexis Sanford.