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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

THURSDAY - September 10, 2009

ILLEGAL ALIEN RECEIVES 25 YEARS FOR DRUG RELATED CHARGES

RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court here on September 8, 2009, United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced JUAN MIGUEL GARCIA-SOTO, an illegal alien from the Dominican Republic residing in the Raleigh area, to 300 months imprisonment for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and aiding and abetting the use and carrying of firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

On May 1, 2008, GARCIA-SOTO, Erickson Dominguez-Gonzalez, Santiago Manuel Candelardo, Jesus Ayala Barrera, and Edwin Cruz, armed with two guns, entered the residence in Garner which was occupied by a man, a woman and their two young children. The male victim was handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten as the assailants tried to obtain information as to the location of money and seven kilograms of cocaine which they believed was being stored at the residence. The female victim was taken to a bathroom where she placed under hot water in the shower and then her head was put in the toilet. After an hour, and unable to find any cocaine, the defendants left the residence and were later arrested. Several items stolen in the robbery were recovered.

On December 3, 2008, a federal grand jury returned a criminal indictment charging GARCIA-SOTO, Dominguez-Gonzalez, Candelardo, and Barrera in connection with the robbery. Cruz was charged in an indictment returned on September 10, 2008.

Mr. Holding commented, “I want to commend the Court for the sentence in this case. The violence against the victims in this case cried out for justice and is a chilling reminder of the cruelty that is often a part of drug crimes.”

All of the individuals charged in this case have been convicted and sentenced. Dominguez-Gonzalez received 164 months imprisonment, Barrera received 153 months imprisonment, Candelardo received 144 months imprisonment, and Cruz received 120 months imprisonment.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the State Department, and the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Eric Goulian served as prosecutor for the government

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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