LEXINGTON, KY. — A Mexican man admitted in federal court Tuesday that he and six others conspired to distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana in Fayette and Scott Counties worth well over a million dollars.
During the course of his guilty plea, Narcisco Munguia Pineda, 41, acknowledged that law enforcement discovered 300 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car when he was stopped in the Hamburg area by law enforcement on October 4, 2011. Authorities then executed a search warrant for his residence on Ice House Way and found more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana along with two firearms.
Previously, Ismael Rodriguez Garcia, 37, Julio Cesar Robles, 33, Gilberto Rodriguez Hernandez, 32, Raul Rodriguez Rojas, 31, Luis Osvaldo Rodriguez Rojas, 38, each of Mexico, and Joaquin Diaz Verdin,19, of Lexington, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. They were indicted by a federal grand jury in late 2011.
At the same time as the discovery of the marijuana in Lexington, law enforcement was performing surveillance at a residence at Starting Gate Point in Georgetown, Ky. The surveillance culminated in a series of traffic stops of vehicles that left the Starting Gate Point residence.
Diaz Verdin previously admitted that on October 4, 2011, he, Rodriguez Hernandez, and Rodriguez Rojas loaded approximately 300 pounds of marijuana into the trunk of his car at the Starting Gate Point residence. After leaving the residence, Diaz Verdin was pulled over by law enforcement and caught with the marijuana.
Rodriguez Hernandez admitted in his guilty plea that he was driving a vehicle, with Robles as a passenger, that was loaded with over $1,800,000 in cash which represented the proceeds of drug trafficking. Prior to the traffic stop, law enforcement had seen Rodriguez Hernandez leave the Starting Gate Point residence.
Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, jointly made the announcement.
The investigation was spearheaded by the U.S. DEA with assistance from the Lexington Metro Police Department, Georgetown Police Department, Versailles Police Department, Richmond Police Department, Kentucky State Police, Frankfort Police Department, Nicholasville Police Department, Winchester Police Department, Garrard County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky Office of Attorney General, and Scott County Sheriff’s Office. The United States was represented in the case by Assistant United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr.
Munguia Pineda and the other men are currently scheduled to appear for sentencing in May before United States District Court Senior Judge Joseph M. Hood in Lexington. Munguia Pineda, Rodriguez Garcia, and Robles each face a minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Gilberto Rodriguez Hernandez, Raul Rodriguez Rojas, Luis Osvaldo Rodriguez Rojas, and Joaquin Diaz Verdin each face a minimum of five years in prison. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of sentences.