Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “All participating agencies played a crucial role in the eradication of this poly-drug distribution network. Their methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana trafficking activities posed a threat to the quality of life in Western North Carolina. The dismantling of this organization makes the affected areas a safer place today. DEA thanks its federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts and the U.S. Attorney’s Office who had a direct impact in making this investigation a success.”
“ATF is proud to have been a part of a collaborative effort with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners. Today’s federal charges will dissolve this drug network, which will have a positive impact on the level of gun violence, violent crime and drug activity in the area,” said Wayne Dixie, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Charlotte Field Division.
According to allegations contained in the criminal indictment, from 2014 until August 2018, the defendants operated as a drug conspiracy responsible for trafficking methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in Western North Carolina, centered in and around Catawba County. The conspiracy extended well beyond North Carolina to Georgia, Texas, California, Illinois, Mexico and elsewhere, and involved the trafficking of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics. The 16 defendants named in the indictment are all charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. Some of the defendants face additional offenses related to drug trafficking. Those named in the indictment are:
- Juan E. Villarreal, 28, of Hickory, N.C.
- Jesus Bedolla, 25, of Sweetwater, Tennessee
- Tommy Warren Boyett, 33, of New London, N.C.
- Joey Antoine Carroll, 32, of Lincolnton, N.C.
- Ricardo Cervantes-Sanchez, 39, of Hickory, N.C.
- Ivan Garcia-Arcos, 34, of Newton, N.C.
- Clayton Ismael Rivera-Trejo, 22, of Hickory, N.C.
- David Charles McIntosh, 37, of Conover, N.C.
- Manuel Bernarno Martinez, Jr., 33, of Alamo, Texas
- Ricky Joe Moses, 39, of Conover, N.C.
- Cindy Santillan, 25, of Taylorsville, N.C.
- Daniel Santillan, 36, of Hickory, N.C.
- Martin Vidal Santillan, 53, of Hickory, N.C.
- Rogelio Vidal Santillan, 51, of Hickory, N.C.
- Juan Manuel Villagomez, 29, of Hickory, N.C.
- Raymundo Villarreal, 21, of Newton, N.C.
McIntosh, Carroll, Juan Villarreal and Raymundo Villarreal are also charged with separate counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Juan Villarreal and Raymundo Villlarreal face additional charges of attempt to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
Each defendant in the indictment is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of up to life in prison and a monetary fine of up to $10 million.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray commended the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Secret Service; the United States Probation Office; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office; the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office; the Hickory Police Department; the Newton Police Department; the Lincolnton Police Department; the Maiden Police Department; and the Cornelius Police Department. U.S. Attorney Murray also thanked the DEA’s offices in McAllen, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Knoxville Tennessee, and the 9th Judicial Drug Task Force in Tennessee for their assistance in this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Bozin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.
This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
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