Man indicted in major local drug ring finally caught five years later

Mondragon faces numerous felony charges; caught trying to re-enter the United States

A former Dayton man indicted in 2016 as part of a major drug ring was arrested recently while attempting to cross the border into the United States.

Bail was set at $500,000 Friday for Ricardo Mondragon, 31, by Judge Jeannine Pratt in Miami County Common Pleas Court. Mondragon faces one count each of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity, money laundering, possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamines and possession of marijuana, along with eight counts of aggravated drug trafficking.

An arraignment for Mondragon to enter a plea to the charges was scheduled for Tuesday so an interpreter can be present to assist him, Pratt said.

Mondragon was among eight people indicted by a county grand jury in 2016 as part of a drug ring that investigators said brought large amounts of heroin and methamphetamines into the Miami Valley. Five of those people were convicted and sentenced to terms ranging from community control to 10 years in prison.

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said Friday that Mondragon was apprehended by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in November, walking across a pedestrian bridge with a few hundred others illegally entering the country.

“He caught their attention for some reason, and they checked further and found our warrants,” Duchak said.

“I didn’t think he would come back to the states, but apparently he has been coming and going the past six years, which doesn’t speak well to our porous southern border,” he said. Mondragon was brought to Ohio from San Diego earlier this week.

A high bond was requested by assistant county prosecutor Matthew Joseph, who said Mondragon allegedly provided false information to authorities questioning him at the border.

Pratt said bail was set at $500,000 due to Mondragon not having a known address, giving false information and the seriousness of the charges. He remains in the county jail.

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