A man charged with leading a Wichita drug smuggling ring two years ago fled from authorities but continued to push dope into the city for another year, according to a federal indictment made public this week.
Agustin Hernandez, 35, and his wife were among 11 people charged in a 37-count drug conspiracy indictment.
Rosa Maria Hernandez, 35, and eight other men and women made their first appearance Wednesday in a federal courtroom in Wichita.
Agustin Hernandez has evaded capture for two years, but prosecutors say it didn't stop him from directing an enterprise that brought methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana into Wichita.
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Prosecutors claim Rosa Hernandez knows her husband's whereabouts.
"We believe he's in Mexico, and we believe she is in contact with him," Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Furst told Magistrate Karen Humphreys during Wednesday's hearing.
Agustin Hernandez also faces charges on a 32-count drug trafficking indictment filed in April 2008.
Rosa Hernandez and Olga Hernandez, 57, are charged with helping Agustin Hernandez avoid prosecution.
All it took was a telephone, prosecutors say, for Agustin Hernandez to maintain his drug business.
The indictment lists a dozen calls between Sajcha Damon Hobbs, 35, and Agustin Hernandez a year after he fled arrest.
The grand jury indictment claims the calls were made to facilitate drug distribution from December 2008 to September 2009.
Prosecutors say Hobbs, Hernandez, Karla Johana Verdugo and Michael Max Krumrey Jr. helped move 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and 500 grams or more of cocaine.
Verdugo, 20, was among those making her first appearance Wednesday. Krumrey has not yet been arrested.
Others named in the same indictment were:
* Elizabeth Trevino, 23, and Juan Romero, 28, charged with distributing cocaine.
* Saoly Souvannakily, 28, accused of trying to distribute nearly 500 grams of cocaine.
* Racquel N. Sosa, 50, accused of knowing about Agustin Hernandez's drug network but not reporting it to police — a felony.
* Heath Duncan, 36, a Wichita bail bondsmen, charged with using the telephone in talking with Hobbs to further drug trafficking.
The amount of drugs listed in the newest indictment was smaller than the amount in the first set of charges.
The 2008 indictment listed dozens of pounds of marijuana, kilos of cocaine and hundreds of grams of methamphetamine being smuggled from Mexico to Wichita.
More than a dozen people were convicted in the 2008 case, with three sentenced to 10 years or more in prison.
Wednesday, several of the women — including Rosa Maria Hernandez and Trevino — sobbed as they were told they would be held in jail for another couple of days.
Both said they had made arrangements with family members to care for their children.
Judge Humphreys appointed lawyers for all the defendants and set detention hearings for Friday and Monday to decide whether they will be allowed bail.
Furst, the assistant U.S. Attorney, is asking for all the defendants to be detained as flight risks.
Several could face 10 or more years in prison if convicted.