ASSOCIATE OF CALIFORNIA DRUG ORGANIZATION PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE METHAMPHETAMINE
BOSTON, Mass. - A North Carolina man was convicted today in federal court of conspiring to distribute eight pounds of nearly pure methamphetamine.
FELICIANO HERNANDEZ MORENO, also known as ANDRES ZEMORA MENDOZA, 32, of Charlotte, NC, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that in late April 2009, MORENO directed a drug courier to drive an SUV from California to MORENO in Georgia.
The courier, believing the SUV was loaded with drug money, decided to steal it. Instead of driving to Georgia, the courier drove the SUV to Chicopee, Mass., disconnected the gas tank and discovered sealed, one-pound packages of crystal methamphetamine, instead of the cash. The courier took five of the packages, abandoned the SUV and took a taxi to the courier’s apartment in Worcester. A few days later, the courier’s apartment was burglarized and the methamphetamine was taken. The courier then went to the Drug Enforcement Administration in Worcester and confessed. Agents later located the abandoned SUV and found three more one pound packages of methamphetamine in the gas tank. A lab test determined that the packages were 99.9% pure methamphetamine.
During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that the methamphetamine was in the possession of a local man named Johnny McCoy. As a result, a DEA informant arranged to buy two pounds of the methamphetamine from McCoy. McCoy, his brother and girlfriend were all arrested when they brought two pounds of methamphetamine to a convenience store on Highland Street that they planned to sell the informant.
DEA also began investigating the California source.
When the courier did not arrive at the location in Georgia, MORENO began leaving messages at the courier’s house looking for the courier. Agents recorded these messages and instructed the informant to tell MORENO that the courier had stolen the drugs, and that the courier could recover the drugs for MORENO for a fee, which MORENO agreed to. MORENO arrived with a co-defendant who had previously pleaded guilty. MORENO and his co-defendant were arrested after a recorded meeting in Millbury at which time they agreed to pay the informant for the recovery of the methamphetamine. Agents recovered nearly six of the eight pounds of methamphetamine.
Judge Saylor scheduled sentencing for June 17, 2011. MORENO faces up to life in prison in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $4 million fine. The plea was tendered pursuant to an agreement in which the parties recommend that MORENO receive 13 years in jail. Judge Saylor deferred a decision on whether to accept that recommendation.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division announced the plea today. The case was investigated by the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hennessy of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.