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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Department of Justice

United States Attorney James R. Dedrick Eastern District of Tennessee


GREENEVILLE, Tenn — A criminal complaint was filed in the United States District Court at Greeneville against Guadalupe Granado, 35, of Newport, Tennessee; Marcos Antonio Rivera, 33, of Winston Salem, North Carolina; Mendoza Ventura Placido, 29, of Galax, Virginia; Abel Martinez Tavera, 37, of Winston Salem, North Carolina; and, Elias Mazariegos Perez, 30, of Morristown, Tennessee, for conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine after they were stopped in a car with over 10 pounds of methamphetamine. All five defendants appeared today for an initial appearance and arraignment in U.S. District Court at Greeneville, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman. Agents from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed immigration detainers on each of the five defendants who are of Mexican and Guatemalan nationality. U.S. Magistrate Judge Inman also set a preliminary hearing on the case for Thursday, May 27, 2010. Each of the defendants were arrested Friday evening in Hamblen and Cocke counties.

If convicted, each defendant faces a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years and up to life imprisonment, a fine of up to $4,000,000.00 and a term of at least five years of supervised release.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Johnson City, assisted by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Third Judicial Drug Task Force, Fourth Judicial Drug Task Force, Morristown Police Department, Hamblen County Sheriff’s Office, Cocke County Sheriff’s Office, Johnson City Police Department, Elizabethton Police Department, Kingsport Police Department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The details of the charges are outlined in the complaint and supporting affidavit, which are attached to this press release, and are filed as public records in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Taylor is representing the United States.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented, "All participating agencies played a crucial role in the arrest of these individuals and the seizure of these drugs. I want to thank our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts, who had a direct impact in making this investigation a success."

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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