leader of drug trafficking organization sentenced to prison
RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court yesterday JOSE MANUEL HERNANDEZ-ITURRALDE, 28, with no known legal address, was sentenced by United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard to 262 months imprisonment followed by five years supervised release for his role in a drug trafficking organization that operated in the Middle and Eastern Districts of North Carolina from 2000 through 2010.
On February 16, 2011, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment that charged HERNANDEZ-ITURRALDE with participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846. On December 5, 2011, HERNANDEZ-ITURRALDE pleaded guilty to that offense.
The investigation revealed that since 2000, HERNANDEZ-ITURRALDE and other co-conspirators maintained several residences in Wake, Randolph and Guilford counties to store, process, and distribute cocaine, as well as to count, package, and stash the drug proceeds from the cocaine distribution. Since the beginning of this investigation in 2009, approximately 40 members of this drug trafficking organization have been prosecuted by the United States Attorneyâ€™s Office in Raleigh, North Carolina, and sentenced accordingly. All told, HERNANDEZ-ITURRALDE and his drug trafficking organization were responsible for importing and distributing approximately 6,000 kilograms of cocaine North Carolina.
Investigation of this case was conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and multiple local law enforcement agencies in both the Middle and Eastern Districts of North Carolina. Assistant United States Attorney Rudy E. Renfer represented the government.