Last of 15 Defendants Convicted and Sentenced for Prescott-Area Heroin Sales

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Last week, Jaime Rene Calderon, 28, of Prescott, Arizona, was sentenced by United States District Judge Steven P. Logan to three concurrent terms of 150 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. In December 2019, a federal jury found Calderon guilty of three counts of aiding and abetting the sale of heroin on three separate occasions. 

“The nationwide epidemic of opioid overdoses impacts small and large communities alike,” said United States Attorney Michael Bailey.  “Collaborative investigations like Operation Blackwater that bring together state and federal agencies will make Prescott and Prescott Valley a safer place for everyone.”

The Department of Public Safety (DPS), with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), conducted “Operation Blackwater” over approximately two years. The operation focused on eliminating the heroin trade in the Prescott and Prescott Valley areas and in particular, to dismantling the criminal activities of the local Creekside Chicanos gang. Evidence at trial proved that Calderon, while incarcerated at the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry in 2017 for an unrelated offense, recruited two associates outside the prison to sell heroin for profit. Calderon was the last of 15 defendants to be convicted and sentenced for heroin possession with the intent to distribute in connection with the investigation.

“We are grateful for the unwavering collaboration with our federal partners throughout Arizona,” said Heston Silbert, Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “We successfully leveraged each other’s investigative resources and effectively displaced a dangerous criminal organization.”

In addition to Calderon, the following individuals were previously convicted of Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin and sentenced as follows:

  • Adrian Anderson, 38: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan M. Brnovich to 30 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release; September 9, 2019; CR-18-8125-PCT-SMB
     
  • Erbey Balderaz, III, 34: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi to 31 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; May 14, 2018; CR-17-8232-PCT-JJT
     
  • Angela Blackwater, 46: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi to time served followed by three years of supervised release; April 30, 2018; CR-17-8225-001-PCT-JJT
     
  • Alisia Gamez, 26: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi to 15 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; May 14, 2018; CR-17-8225-002-PCT-JJT
     
  • Nicholas Cowan, 33: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes to18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; April 2, 2018; CR-17-8228-PCT-DLR
     
  • John Delgado, 33: Sentenced to U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; October 29, 2018; CR-17-8223-PCT-GMS
                                                                                    
  • Andre Enciso, 37: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge John J. Tuchi to 12 months and one day in prison followed by three years of supervised release; March 19, 2018; CR-17-1258-PHX-JJT
     
  • Lisa Gazzam, 40: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan M. Brnovich to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; April 29, 2019; CR-18-578-PHX-SMB
     
  • Veronica James, 39: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes to 12 months and one day in prison followed by three years of supervised release; September 10, 2018; CR-17-8229-PCT-DLR
     
  • Craig Livermore, 35: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to three years of probation; January 11, 2019; CR-17-8224-PCT-DGC
     
  • Bryant Montoya, 26: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Diane J. Humetewa to 66 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; June 4, 2018; CR-17-8231-001-PCT-DJH
     
  • Marcos Ochoa, 24: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Diane J. Humetewa to 36 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; August 22, 2018; CR-17-8226-PCT-DJH
     
  • Yeni Guevara Solis, 28: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge Diane J. Humetewa to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; May 14, 2018; CR-17-8231-002-PCT-DJH
     
  • Evangeline Wilson, 32: Sentenced by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release; May 21, 2018; CR-17-8230-PCT-DGC
     

“We are thankful for the impact this collaborative, long-term investigation has made in the Prescott community,” said Sean Kaul, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Division. “Working together, we were able to get dangerous drugs and dangerous individuals off the streets. The FBI is proud to work with our state, local, and federal partners and will continue to do so to protect the communities we serve in the fight against drugs.” 

Arizona DPS (Prescott) and the FBI conducted the investigation into these matters. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Covault, District of Arizona, Phoenix handled the prosecutions with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Crowley on the Calderon case.

CASE NUMBER:            CR-18-8126-PCT-SPL
RELEASE NUMBER:    2020-063_Calderon

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona