News and Press Releases

Twenty-Three Arrested On Federal Drug Charges; Four Others Charged As Illegal Aliens In Possession Of Firearms

October 17, 2008

Alleged Cocaine Distribution Network Disrupted

Greensboro, NC – As the result of a year-long investigation into a major narcotics trafficking organization operating in the Middle District of North Carolina and elsewhere, federal, state and local law enforcement agents and officers executed a series of arrest and search warrants beginning Friday October 10 and continuing through today. The operation has resulted in the arrest of 27 subjects and the seizure of approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine, 30 firearms, and $150,000 in United States Currency. Three other individuals facing charges have yet to be arrested.

“These arrests demonstrate the determination of the federal government and its state and local partners to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations,” said Anna Mills Wagoner, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. “The combined resources of the involved law enforcement agencies enabled us to take down a significant drug distribution network, and we will continue to use all available resources to fight against those who threaten our community by trafficking narcotics.”

The following 23 individuals were arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine hydrochloride:

  1. Guadalupe ORTIZ Rios, Stoneville, NC, age 27
  2. Pedro PENA Zuniga, Haw River, NC, age 45
  3. Esteban PENA Zuniga, Burlington, NC, age 32
  4. Mayra ORTIZ Rios, Mebane, NC, age 29
  5. Genaro MENDOZA Resendiz, Eden, NC, age 29
  6. Victor Manuel RIOS Flores, Stoneville, NC, age 25
  7. Kendron TORAIN, Hillsborough, NC, age 28
  8. Toribio SANDOVAL Rios, Mebane, NC, age 24
  9. Terris Karsten ENOCH, Mebane, NC, age 30
  10. Alberto Robles CARLOS, Graham, NC, age 36
  11. Amparo GONZALEZ Cortez, Graham, NC, age 34
  12. Javier GARCIA, Axton, VA, age 35
  13. Roberto GODINEZ, Axton, VA, age 27
  14. Luis Alberto RIVERA Duran, Haw River, NC, age 28
  15. Saloman GONZALEZ Gonzalez, Elon, NC, age 37
  16. Edgar AVILA Goana, Snow Camp, NC, age 22
  17. Juan SERRANO Mejias, Snow Camp, NC, age 36
  18. Manuel RENTERIA Sunaga, Snow Camp, NC, age 28
  19. Arnulfo SANCHEZ Hernandez, Lumberton, NC, age 37
  20. Jose SANCHEZ Hernandez, Lumberton, NC, age 37
  21. Ismael AZUA Guel, Lumberton, NC, age 46
  22. Jose Roberto MAGDONAL, Lumberton, NC, age 35
  23. Cliftera Louise JACKSON, Raleigh, NC, age 23

Defendants 1 through 13 are charged in the same drug conspiracy indictment and face ten years to life in prison and a fine of up to $4,000,000 if convicted. Defendants 14 through 23 are each charged in one of five different complaints and face not less than five nor more than 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000,000 if convicted. Edgar AVILA Goana, Juan SERRANO Mejias and Manuel RENTERIA Sunaga are also charged with carrying or use of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, an offense that will add not less than five years to their sentences if convicted.

The following four individuals were arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by an illegal alien:

  1. Fidel PENA Zuniga, Haw River, NC, age 35
  2. Maria Guadalupe ANZALDO, Burlington, NC, age 30
  3. Jose CORTEZ Sanchez, Burlington, NC, age 39
  4. Arturo VALDERRAMA Lopez, Burlington, NC, age 22

They face not more than ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. Luis Alberto RIVERA Duran (defendant #14 above) is also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by an illegal alien.

Initial appearances for those arrested were held October 14 and 16 in federal court in Greensboro before P. Trevor Sharp, United States Magistrate Judge. Arraignments will be held in November and trials are expected to be scheduled for the December 2008 term of court in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The investigation and arrests were jointly conducted by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service--Criminal Investigation, United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, Burlington Police Department, Eden Police Department, Elon Police Department, Graham Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, and Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.

The public is cautioned that an indictment is a formal method of issuing charges. It does not, in and of itself, create an inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, as the government establishes his or her guilt by competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

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