Four indicted for smuggling weapons to drug cartel

By Kristine Guerra, The Indianapolis Star

Updated 1h 14m ago

Four Indiana residents suspected of smuggling assault rifles from the state to a Mexican drug cartel in exchange for illegal drugs have been indicted in federal court on multiple drug and firearms charges.

The Indiana residents are charged with seven counts of drug- and firearm-related offenses, U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett announced Thursday. The suspected drug-trafficking leader, Hermion Torres, 35, Seymour, is being charged with drug conspiracy, firearms trafficking conspiracy, possession of a firearm, and firearm straw purchase or soliciting other people to buy firearms on his behalf.

The indictment filed with the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis alleges that Torres, also known as "Bear" or "Oso," has been involved since 2009 in importing marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine from drug cartels in Texas and Mexico and selling them throughout Southern Indiana and West Kentucky, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Torres, a convicted felon unable to legally purchase firearms, is also accused of paying other people or giving them drugs in exchange for firearms, which were then transported to Texas and Mexico.
Prosecutors believe the three Indiana residents named in the indictment bought firearms on Torres' behalf. They are David Lane, 40, Columbus, Regina Compton, 40, Columbus, and Christopher Baker, 37, Franklin.

Hogsett said all except Torres have been released under strict conditions. A trial date is scheduled on Aug. 13.

If found guilty of the drug charges, Torres will face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Each firearm-related charge carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

Hogsett said no one else from Texas or Mexico have been charged, but said the investigation is ongoing.

Four indicted for smuggling weapons to drug cartel