A man runs a drug ring from inside a South Dakota correctional facility

SIOUX FALLS, SD (Dakota News Now) – A Nebraska man continued to operate his drug ring in Sioux Falls while incarcerated, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ray Noel Camacho, a/k/a “Pato,” 38, of Nebraska, led a major drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing at least 120 pounds of methamphetamine throughout the Midwest. About 70 lbs. Methamphetamine was seized only in South Dakota. In May 2019, a traffic stop led to the search and seizure of 50 kilograms of methamphetamine, which was stored in a spare tire and hidden compartments inside the vehicle.

According to the DOJ’s investigation, Camacho organized and strategically arranged the shipment of several pounds of methamphetamine from Mexico and the payment for those shipments through three-way phone calls from a South Dakota correctional facility. The jail recorded those calls, which were used as key evidence at his trial. Camacho to help him in his organization, which included prisoners and ex-prisoners and people known to them from the outside community. Camacho is the last of the 22 defendants involved in the drug trafficking ring to be found guilty.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation, the Sioux Falls Area Task Force, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Team. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Hodges and Paige Petersen prosecuted the case.

United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell says a federal jury in Sioux Falls handed down the verdict on Nov. 3, finding Camacho guilty of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to launder money in addition to his 31- to 64-year prison sentence. for making terroristic threats and using a firearm to commit a crime.

According to the DOJ, the charges, due to sentencing guidelines in the Camacho case, carry a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison and/or a $10 million fine, a lifetime of supervised release and a $200 special. assessment to the Federal Fund for Victims of Crime. Camacho was indicted by a federal grand jury in August 2021.

A presentence hearing has been set and no sentencing date has yet been set. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the US Marshals Service.

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