Mario Alberto Arzate Gutierrez, aka Gustavo Hernandez

4 plead guilty in federal drug conspiracy tied to Middletown

Four of seven co-defendants in a heroin and fentanyl drug trafficking conspiracy tied to Middletown have pleaded guilty and three more are scheduled to do so next week, according to federal court documents.

Joannie Santiago-Agosto pleaded guilty to one count Friday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court and will spend between five and 40 years in prison.

Gustavo Karin Tarabay-Viera, Pablo Portalatin Jr. and Jaberri “Boogie” Bratton also have pleaded guilty. Tarabay-Viera and Portalatin pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge while Bratton pleaded guilty to distributing heroin.

Mario Alberto Arzate Gutierrez, aka Gustavo Hernandez, along with Maribel Cruz and Luis Ramon Gutierrez Esqueda are scheduled to plead. The sentencing hearings are scheduled for this summer.

Arzate Gutierrez was scheduled to plead guilty Friday, but his defense attorney did not show up for the hearing.

The complaint and affidavit remain sealed and the detailed plea agreements and statements of fact are not publically available.

But the 12-count indictment alleged conspiracy and the distribution of 400 or more grams of fentanyl and 100 or more grams of heroin from events stemming from late last year.

The indictment also names two involved Middletown addresses — 2347 Sutphin St. and 1203 Baltimore St., which are about a mile apart — that were part of a distribution network that moved drugs in Ohio and a neighboring state.

Arzate Gutierrez’s attorney Jeffrey Slyman — who didn’t show for Friday’s hearing — previously had asked for a separate trial.

“There is no dispute that conspiracies are often far-ranging, loosely-knit ensembles, even when established by direct, uncontroverted proof,” Slyman wrote in one of several December 2018 motions.

“This should not mean, however, that the government is given carte blanche authority to link individuals to a single conspiracy because individuals had associations with one or more of others involved, particularly where these associations may have been as innocent as eating at a Mexican restaurant.”

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