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FRIDAY, October 21, 2005

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced the sentencing of Alfredo Granados-Garcia, a Mexican attorney, for conspiracy drug and international money laundering charges in U. S. District Court before the Honorable Terrence W. Boyle on Tuesday, October 18, 2005. Granados-Garcia received a sentence of 15 years on each count, to run concurrently, 5 years supervised release, and deportation. Granados-Garcia, was a leader in a major Mexican cocaine organization that was the focus of a joint two-year investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Marshals Service, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and the Goldsboro Police Department. The investigation, code named OPERATION GOLDRUSH, has resulted in the dismantling of this violent drug organization’s North Carolina distribution cell based in Wayne County, and has led to significant federal and state convictions of its members. OPERATION GOLDRUSH was recently recognized as an OCDETF Case of the Year for the Southeast Region of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The Southeast region includes all federal drug task forces from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana.

OPERATION GOLDRUSH began as a local narcotics investigation initiated in July 2003 by the Wayne County and Goldsboro Drug Task Force. It subsequently developed into a multi-jurisdictional investigation coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Administration along with Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement offices throughout the Southeastern and Southwestern United States and Mexico. The two year investigation revealed that the organization was connected to the Gulf Cartel headed by Osiel Cardenas and had distribution cells in North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas.

As a result of this OCDETF investigation, 28 individuals have been prosecuted on federal and state drug and international money laundering charges, including its leaders Arnulfo Ramirez and Alfredo Grandos-Garcia. Ramirez was previously sentenced to 16 years and 6 months imprisonment, and five years supervised release for conspiracy drug and international money laundering charges. Significant drug and money seizures have been achieved during this investigation to include: 58 kilograms of cocaine, 1,038 pounds of marijuana, 1.6 million dollars in U.S. currency, 8 firearms including a machinegun, 11 vehicles, and 3 residences valued at over $450,000.

OPERATION GOLDRUSH utilized a complete team approach that included fourteen federal state and local law enforcement agencies

from two regions, four districts and three states. As a result of these efforts, significant obstacles of penetrating a primarily Hispanic organization with close family ties was overcome with the successful use of innovative as well as traditional law enforcement techniques; including wiretaps authorized under federal law. OPERATION GOLDRUSH has led to the dismantling of a major drug trafficking organization from the distribution level through the command and control elements of the organization. Further, it directly impacted the availability of drugs in the target communities that this organization serviced in the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Assistant United States Attorney Ethan A. Ontjes prosecuted these cases for the United States.


News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at 48 hours of release.

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