KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Juan Lopez Gallardo, 44, Jairo David Posadas, 22, Josedad Delacruz, 24, Serguin Castro-Carias, 20, all of Sevier County, and Nolvia Rosme Carillo-Rodriguez, 42, and Pablo Daniel Suarez, 32, both of Miami, were arrested on Sept. 30 by the FBI.
Lopez, Posadas, Delacruz, Castro-Carias, and Carillo-Rodriguez are charged with a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. Additionally, Lopez and Suarez are charged with two counts of conspiracy to transport stolen vehicles across state lines.
Court documents state that around June 2020 Gallardo, Suarez and Marco Cardenas changed the vehicle identification numbers of stolen vehicles to disguise them. The three then took the vehicles across state lines into East Tennessee. Gallardo and Cadenas created and obtained false title and registration documents for the stolen vehicles. They then registered the stolen vehicles with the state of Tennessee using the fake documents.
Gallardo, Posadas, Delacruz, Castro-Carias, Carillo-Rodriguez and James Hickman are accused of distributing over 500 grams of cocaine. On June 27, $109,845 was seized and on Sept. 2, $31,814 was seized from the men.
Gallardo and Hickman were also named in an indictment unsealed Wednesday that included two Sevier County deputy clerks. Brandy Thornton and Roberta Allen are accuse of federal crimes involving interfering with interstate commerce by means of extortion. According to the indictment, the two deputy clerks had the ability to register and title vehicles.
In the spring of 2020, law enforcement in the Eastern District of Tennessee began to investigate a drug trafficking organization that was distributing cocaine in Sevier County and elsewhere. Officers were able to make controlled buys from the group.
An initial appearance for Lopez, Posadas, Delacruz, and Castro-Carias, was held on Oct. 1 in United States District Court in Knoxville. They were ordered to be held in custody pending the setting of a trial date.
Carillo-Rodriguez’s initial appearance was also on Oct. 1 in United States District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He will be taken by law enforcement to the Eastern District of Tennessee for arraignment.
An initial appearance for Suarez was held on Sept. 30 in United States District Court in Miami. He was released and will travel to the Eastern District of Tennessee for arraignment.
Numerous law enforcement agencies assisted with this investigation including Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, Sevierville Police Department, Pigeon Forge Police Department, Gatlinburg Police Department, Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office and Miami Gardens Police Department.