A London Correctional Institution (LoCI) inmate and another former inmate ran a national heroin and cocaine trafficking ring from their Madison County prison cells, according to Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil.
During a July 18 press conference, Neil outlined day-to-day operations of the ring that involved current inmate Cesar Llamas, 38, and former inmate Jorge Palacios Gamez.
Llamas is currently serving eight years for drug trafficking and racketeering in Franklin County.
Gamez was released in April 2013 and was last known to be in Mexico. Both men are Mexican nationals.
The two were part of a network that distributed narcotics from Mexico to cities throughout Ohio, Nevada, California, Texas and Illinois, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Regional Narcotics Unit (RENU).
While in prison, Llamas and Gamez recruited fellow inmates and their associates on the outside to distribute illegal drugs.
Although prison officials routinely monitor selected inmate phone calls, Gamez and Llamas were able to conduct business by using NFL team names as code for the dope. Green Bay Packers meant marijuana; Indianapolis Colts meant cocaine and Pittsburg Steelers meant heroin, according to broadcast reports.
A prison snitch alerted authorities and agreed to act as an informant, published reports said.
Phone calls between the informant and Llamas led to undercover drug deals that were monitored by authorities.
Officers arrested two people and seized 8.8 pounds of heroin during a buy-bust at an Indiana motel on Jan. 15.
Altogether, authorities arrested 14 suspects and seized 35 pounds of heroin and 18 pounds of cocaine with a combined street value of nearly $2 million during the year-long investigation.
Authorities also seized $600,000 in other assets used by ring members to traffick the drugs, published reports said.
Contact Jane Beathard at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.