Crime

Man admits helping set up New York drug deal from Harrison County

Jose Rosado
Jose Rosado

GULFPORT -- A Florida man has admitted using a cellphone in Harrison County to set up a drug deal in New York.

Jose Rosado, 41, of Orlando pleaded guilty to using a phone July 10, 2014, in Harrison County to further a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He faces up to four years in prison, a year's probation and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing is June 21.

Rosado pleaded guilty to bill of information charging him with the crime. He had been indicted on a drug-trafficking charge and a charge of attempt to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. In exchange for his plea, the government plans to dismiss the remaining charges at his sentencing. Rosado also has a state drug charge in Harrison County.

A federal grand jury indicted eight Florida residents in the case, one of whom was Rosado.

The other indicted are Amada Reyes, the lead defendant, Jael Pena-Vasquez, Ernesto Castillo-Ramirez, Ramon Castillo, Tatyana Monge, Felix Portes and Josue Perez-Sanchez.

Jena Pena-Vasquez, 30, and Ernesto Castillo-Ramirez, 42, both of Orlando, pleaded guilty to the same charge and are awaiting sentencing.

Castillo-Ramirez, 42, and Pena-Vasquez, 30, went to New York with $112,000 and a Rolex watch to buy 20 to 30 kilos of cocaine following a discussion about a drug deal in Harrison County. Both were taken into custody in New York.

According to testimony from a Gulfport-based Homeland Security Investigations agent, both were identified as suspects during a reverse sting, during which they were trying to buy 30 kilos of cocaine. Federal authorities recorded their meeting with a confidential informant in Gulfport and elsewhere.

Authorities arrested them when they were headed to a meeting place in New York. Federal agents seized their cash, and released them pending further investigation.

They were arrested again after a federal grand jury indicted them, Rosado and five others.

Federal agents arrested Reyes, 46, Jan. 27 in Manhattan when he showed up for a meeting about a drug deal with a New York City DEA agent.

Charges have been dismissed against Sanchez and Monge. Felix Portes remains at large.

Staff writer Robin Fitzgerald contributed to this report.

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