9 drug traffickers sentenced in 'Operation Sooner or Later'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nine drug traffickers were sentenced this week to federal prison terms for their participation in an international drug trafficking organization.

Dubbed "Operation Sooner or Later," this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation targeted international cocaine trafficking from Mexico to Florida. To date, Operation Sooner or Later has resulted in the indictment of 47 individuals, 41 of whom have been arrested.

The 41 individuals arrested have all been convicted. Seven individuals await sentencing later this year.

As a result of this investigation, $1.1 million in U.S. currency has been seized, along with more than $750,000 worth of real property, more than $200,000 worth of vehicles, and 45 firearms.

Each of the nine individuals sentenced this week previously pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. Brian Graham, 33, of Ocala, was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in federal prison. Agustin Santos Garcia, 37, of Guerrero, Mexico, was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Ernesto Avila-Carrillo, 28, of Jalisco, Mexico, was sentenced to 10 years and seven months in federal prison. Huber Dominguez-Diaz, 52, of Guerrero, Mexico, and Irvin Ashley, 36, of Palatka, were each sentenced to seven and a half years in federal prison. Demetri Laurent, 35, of Hahira, Ga., and Marcus Deberry, 36, of Valdosta, Ga., were each sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Pedro Vasquez, 35, of Ocala, was sentenced to four years in federal prison. And Pernell Singleton, 29, of Jacksonville, was sentenced to three years and five months in federal prison.

Operation Sooner or Later began in March 2010 in Ocala. The investigation revealed that Francisco Avila-Carrillo, who is awaiting sentencing, and Ernesto Avila-Carrillo obtained large quantities of cocaine from various sources of supply, including a network of Mexican cocaine distributors. That cocaine was then redistributed from locations in Marion County to cocaine traffickers in Ocala, Jacksonville, Tampa and south Georgia.

During the conspiracy, Pernell Singleton, Irvin Ashley and Jason Israel, previously sentenced to more than six years in prison, worked together to obtain kilogram quantities of cocaine and redistribute that cocaine in Jacksonville and Palatka. On April 26, 2010, DEA agents and task force officers seized six kilograms of cocaine in Bradford County from a vehicle driven by Jason Israel.

On April 28, 2010, DEA agents and task force officers stopped two vehicles traveling north on Interstate 75 in Columbia County. The vehicles were occupied by Laurent, Deberry and Brian Griffin. Agents found 3.5 kilograms of cocaine in Griffin's vehicle. Griffin, previously convicted, was a driver for Laurent and Deberry. Laurent made multiple trips from Valdosta, Ga., to Ocala to obtain kilograms of cocaine from Ernesto Avila-Carrillo. That cocaine was distributed to Deberry and other cocaine dealers in south Georgia.