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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Man In SOCF Part of Large-Scale Drug Ring

"Authorities say 13 people have been indicted in federal court for their involvement in a large-scale drug ring that was led by an Ohio prison inmate.

"The accused ringleader is 50-year-old Fernando Auces. Auces, who has been in Ohio prisons since 1999 after a jury found him guilty of racketeering and a judge sentenced him to 20 years.

"Authorities say Auces conspired to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine throughout the state from 2010 to 2014. An indictment says Auces used a contraband cellphone to run the operation."

("13 indicted for alleged drug ring run from Ohio prisons."
WKYC/AP Cleveland. January 12, 2015)

All 13 people were indicted in Count 1 with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Auces, while an inmate at Allen Correctional Institute in Lima, Ohio, with the assistance of Ricardo Morales-Almazan, 32, and others, controlled a multi-state drug operation by communicating through a contraband cell phone with others outside the prison to arrange the delivery and sale of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, according to the indictment.

Between 2010 and 2014, Auces and others arranged for deliveries of large amounts of heroin to Ohio from suppliers in Indiana and Texas. He recruited friends and relatives, including Almazan, to receive and distribute the heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to Cleveland, Toledo and elsewhere, according to the indictment.

Auces, as part of the conspiracy, agreed with Alexander Gonzales, 38, an inmate at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, to share customers and drug suppliers. Auces arranged for Gonzales to distribute drugs to various locations throughout Ohio, including Cleveland, Akron/ Canton, Dayton and Cincinnati, according to the indictment.

"Images of Optimism From Behind the Walls"

In quite an ironic twist, consider what Fernando Auces was recognized for in 2006. His air-brushed
paintings hung in the University of Toledo's Multicultural Student Center.

There were portraits of African-American icons Rosa Parks, Malcom X, and Muhammad Ali. There were also large phantasmagoric canvases crammed full of Mexican culture - an Aztec warrior, Pancho Villa, Emiliano Zapata.

Prisoners Fernando Auces and Steven Chorvas air-brushed six hours a day at the Toledo Correctional Institution as part of its community service program.

Nineteen pieces of their art were brought to UT for the exhibit called "Images of Optimism From Behind the Walls."

Auces said he started drawing when he first came to prison and made designs on envelopes he sent to family. He would put water on M&Ms and use the pigment from the candy shells to color his artwork.

He said he drew on his personal experience and his cultural heritage - he originally is from Mexico - for much of his art. He was happy to have some of artworks on public display.

"It feels good," he said. "We got families. They're gonna be proud of us."

(Ryan E. Smith. "Prison artists share talent with community."
The Toledo Blade. March 30, 2006)   

Yes, Auces' family must be so proud of him as he, his friends, and his relatives began to operate the huge drug ring while convincing the public he was being rehabilitated while artistically spray-painting artwork of famous American and Latin historical icons.

"Images of Optimism," indeed. I wonder if the University of Toledo has horrible regrets about proudly displaying the works created by Fernando Auces. Of course, at the time of the exhibit, the university didn't know of the drug leader's 2010-2014 crimes.

Mr. Auces should have plenty of extra time to hone his artistry because of the recent indictment. Perhaps his next exhibit will be titled "Many More Images of Optimism From Behind the Walls."

Cell phones, drug rings controlled by prisoners, vast distribution of illegal substances, contraband drugs in so many institutions -- isn't it funny how greed, profit, and wrongdoing can still operate behind bars? Nowhere guarantees that those convicted of serious crimes will not commit more offenses from within the walls that restrain their physical bodies.

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