Beth Warren Louisville Courier Journal Published 10:19 AM EST Jan 31, 2019 On a frosty winter afternoon, a gunman stepped out of a getaway car and crept beside a maroon Chevy pickup, raised his arm and fired. Again and again. Vicente Rodriguez Ramirez, struck by several bullets, stomped on the gas pedal and sped toward a Valero gas station in southern Jefferson County to find help. But he crashed in the parking lot and never got out. The 24-year-old’s murder on Jan. 20, 2018, is now the linchpin of a federal investigation that could topple a large-scale drug-trafficking organization blamed for pumping millions of dollars’ worth of heroin, cocaine and meth into the Louisville area. The drug ring — with ties to a Mexican cartel — capitalized on the region’s crippling addiction crisis and plotted the deaths of people who threatened its lucrative business, federal agents claim in a criminal complaint. Accused drug lord Javier Humberto Navarro Rodriguez, his suspected right-hand man Dwain Claude Castle and alleged hit man Charles Orlando Cater not only teamed to kill Ramirez, federal agents say, but they also were searching for another man they had marked for death. And they pondered killing a third. Louisville police and the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested the trio last February before anyone else was shot. Federal records: Wiretaps unravel Louisville drug trafficking,… Read full this story
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