Trio of men sentenced in cocaine case

Cocaine headed to Ohio

A Court handed down punishments in a case involving a group of men who allegedly conspired to transport drugs to the Midwest, records show.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane handed down sentences for three of the five men involved in connection with a smuggling attempt last May, records show.

The Court handed down sentences for Carlos Gonzalez, Reynaldo Lerma, and Erasmo Gonzalez Jr., of 70 months in prison for both Carlos Gonzalez and Reynaldo Lerma, and a 30-month prison sentence for Erasmo Gonzalez Jr., the record shows.

The punishments are part of a federal cocaine case that led to arrests in May 2019, according to the complaint filed against the men.

FBI agents arrested Derrick Raul Lerma, Fernando Lerma, Reynaldo Lerma and Carlos Gonzalez at an apartment in Alton on May 9 after finding 10 kilograms of cocaine inside the vehicle of one of the men, court records show.

Agents, conducting surveillance of an apartment in the 2600 block of Garfield Avenue in Alton watched as Carlos Gonzalez, driving a Nissan Sentra, arrived at the aforementioned apartment and entered the residence.

About 15 minutes later, agents watched as Derrick Lerma, Fernando Lerma and Reynaldo Lerma also arrived at the apartment and entered.

Moments later, agents approached the apartment and interviewed Reynaldo Lerma, who confirmed the vehicle he arrived in, a maroon in color Dodge Ram pickup truck.

Agents subsequently searched Reynaldo’s vehicle, and discovered inside a toolbox, a trash bag with 10 separate bricks of what was later determined to be cocaine, the complaint against the men stated.

Carlos Gonzalez was also interviewed by the agents, where he stated that he and the men had agreed to a drug transaction for 10 kilos of cocaine destined for Ohio.

He said the day before he met with Derrick, Reynaldo and Fernando in Donna to discuss the logistics of transporting the cocaine, during which Derrick gave Gonzalez $1,000 cash, meant as a down payment for Carlos Gonzalez to coordinate the aforementioned transportation of the cocaine.

“D. Lerma also agreed to deliver another $1,000 to Gonzalez upon delivery of the cocaine,” the complaint stated.

According to the complaint, Derrick was carrying $1,000 in $100 bills wrapped in a rubber band at the time of this arrest.

During his interview with agents, Derrick stated he was involved in the alleged scheme in order to “pay bills.”

Carlos Gonzalez, pleaded guilty in May 2020, to one drug conspiracy charge; Erasmo Gonzalez Jr., pleaded guilty to the same charge in December 2019, and Reynaldo Lerma pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge Nov. 3, 2020, records show.

Fernando Lerma, and Derrick Raul Lerma, who each pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in October 2020, are scheduled to be sentenced in January 2021.