DEA: Wire tap brings down drug trafficking ring, connects 3 men to Louisville homicide
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Newly released federal court documents shed new light on a deadly Louisville shooting that happened in January.
Vicente Rodriguez Ramirez, 24, was found shot in the parking lot next to Indi's Chicken on Poplar Level Road on Jan. 20.
Ramirez was executed by a drug trafficking organization as retaliation for a robbery, according to those federal documents prepared by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Three men now face federal charges.
Javier Rodriguez and Dwain Castle are accused of paying Charles Cater $30,000 to carry out the hit. Court documents show Rodriguez and Castle thought Ramirez robbed them of $70,000 worth of heroin.
The months-long federal investigation into these three men not only included wire taps, but also surveillance and undercover drug buys.
The DEA began investigating a drug trafficking organization in November that they believed was bringing kilograms of meth, heroin, cocaine and marijuana into Louisville.
During their investigation, officials determined Rodriguez was the leader of the group and held him responsible for selling the kilograms of narcotics. They believe he organized the shipment of the drugs from Mexico and other parts of the United States.
Starting in December 2017, the DEA had a wire tap on Rodriguez's phone. That led them to Dwain Castle, who officials said helped Rodriguez store the drugs and divide them to supply lower-level dealers.
About a month into their wire tap, the DEA intercepted calls to Rodriguez from a person later identified as Vicente Rodriguez Ramirez, the homicide victim.
Police said Ramirez told Rodriguez he had a third-party buyer for a kilo of heroin who would buy it for $70,000.
>> PREVIOUS STORY: Coroner identifies man killed in Poplar Level Road shooting
Rodriguez and Castle agreed to meet Ramirez and the third-party buyer in the 2100 bock of West Kentucky Street, despite concerns about getting robbed by the third-party buyer, who they did not previously know. But shortly after they arrived, gun fire broke out and the DEA learned Rodriguez and Castle were indeed robbed, according to the intercepted communications.
That was Jan. 16, 2018. In the days following, the wire tap revealed Rodriguez and Castle plotting to kill the third-party buyer for robbing them. On Jan. 19, they mentioned killing Ramirez, as well, referring to him as "Migo" and "nephew."
That day, the DEA's wire tap expired.
On Jan. 20, Ramirez was shot and killed in the parking lot next to Indi's.
The DEA was able to re-activate the wire tap on Jan. 23. They could also map the cell phones' data to put both Rodriguez and Castle in the area of the homicide on Jan. 20. In the month following the homicide, officials overheard conversations discussing Ramirez's murder and who knew what about their actions.
During those conversations, the DEA said Rodriguez and Castle talked about paying a man, later identified as Charles Cater, $30,000 to kill Ramirez and the third-party buyer.
Officials then got data from Cater's cell phone, which put him in the vicinity of Ramirez's homicide on Jan. 20.
On Feb. 23, federal agents arrested Rodriguez, Castle and Cater after executing search warrants at each of their homes.
MORE FROM WAVE3.COM
+ Robbed at gunpoint and bound: Bullitt Assistant County Attorney becomes victim
+ Special prosecutor requested in case of former LMPD detective
+ 115 cases of Hepatitis A confirmed in Jefferson County
During questioning, Castle confirmed he worked with Rodriguez, according to federal documents. Castle told the agents the four kilograms of heroin they found at his house belonged to Rodriguez. He also said he hired Cater to kill Ramirez because Rodriguez asked him to do so.
Cater told agents he was there when Ramirez was shot and killed, but he told the DEA it was Castle who pulled the trigger.
Rodriguez did agree to be questioned, and admitted he was the man bringing in kilograms of drugs, according to federal documents. When agents began asking Rodriguez about Ramirez's death, he requested a lawyer and the questioning was stopped.
The suspects are due in federal court later this month.
Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.