LOS ANGELES - A top lieutenant in a multimillion dollar drug distribution operation that moved narcotics from Mexico through Los Angeles to the Midwest and Atlantic Coast was convicted Monday of conspiracy and other counts.A jury deliberated less than four hours before finding Derwin Lashun Webster guilty of all six felony counts, including conspiracy to transport cocaine, possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana, possession of cocaine for sale, transportation of cocaine, and possession of a false compartment "with the intent to store, conceal, smuggle and transport" a controlled substance. The jury also found true an allegation that the amount of cocaine was more than 80 kilos. Webster, 38, is facing 32 years in county jail when he is sentenced Aug. 24 by Judge Bob Bowers Jr. Webster, of Moreno Valley, was the last of seven people convicted of being part of a sophisticated drug smuggling and distribution ring. When the ring was busted in May 2006, authorities seized $28 million worth of cocaine, along with 657 pounds of marijuana, more than $1 million in cash, six handguns, two tractor-trailer rigs and other vehicles. The alleged head of the operation, Steven Montes, of West Covina, is serving 25 years in prison after pleading and being sentenced in 2009. Three additional defendants - Agustin Alvarez, Omar Cruz and Rufino Acevedo - are serving 16 years in prison after pleading and being sentenced in October 2009. Two defendants - Samuel Vivoros Murrillo, 49, and Joel Huerta Nunez, 46 - are fugitives.
********** Published: August 02, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 16