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Columbus Latino Market Owner Arrested On Drug Charges

The owner of a Columbus-area Latino market chain was arrested, Tuesday morning, in connection with a drug ring. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies arrested 13 people at nine different La Michoacana Latino markets, including the owner Liborio Alcauter. Those arrested are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, according to the Southern Ohio U.S. Attorney’s Office. A three-year investigation alleges members of the group also bought vehicles with illegal drug money. Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs said the La Michoacana stores were allegedly used to launder drug money. “Drug dealers will find a legitimate business, or so-called legitimate business, to funnel money through so that there’s a reason why there’s a reason why there’s people always come through your door, so that there’s a reason why you might be putting money in a bank somewhere. So that’s a way of cleaning up the money so that you don’t raise the attention of the IRS. And that’s what was going on in this case? We believe so, yes.”

The Franklin County Sheriff's Office was involved in the investigation. “They were running legitimate businesses, I guess to some degree, while they were running their drug business on the side, and effecting not only central Ohio but other states and international business. It was a pretty big deal, ” Sheriff Zach Scott said. Jacobs said a judge will decide whether to close the grocery stores. “To decide whether they are a nuisance; to decide if there is enough evidence to show that they were illegal rather than legitimate," Jacobs said.

Police continue to look for others who may be connected to the drug ring. Those arrested include: RUBEN L. QUIROZ, 33, Columbus LIBORIO ALCAUTER, 47, Westerville ERIKA V. BEDOLLA, 28, Columbus ALEJANDRINA GARCIA, 28, Columbus CARLOS S. CARRASCO, 34, Columbus EBRIMA SUMAREH, 30, Columbus FAVIO N. MORALES, 40, Toledo FELIPE R. SOLANO, 45,Columbus JAVIER A. CASTILLO, 26, Columbus JOSUE SOLIS, 37, Galloway, Ohio LORENA SEVILLA-MORA, 34, Galloway MIRIAM F. RAMIREZ, 29, Dublin RODOLFO R. PADILLA, 25, Columbus