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Press Release

South Bay Man Who Trafficked Hundreds of Pounds of Cocaine from Mexico Sentenced to More than 11 Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

          LOS ANGELES – A Torrance man who led a drug ring that used couriers to traffic hundreds of pounds of cocaine from Mexico into the United States and Canada has been sentenced to 135 months in prison on federal felony drug- and money laundering-related charges.

          Richard Manuel Pimentel, 45, received the sentence of 11 years and three months’ imprisonment on Monday and was fined $300,000 by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer.

          In October 2018, Pimentel pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

          Pimentel is the fourth and final defendant sentenced in this case by Judge Fischer. His co-defendants, who each pleaded guilty to felony charges in the case, are:

  • Enrique Rodriguez, 47, of North Hills, who was sentenced to 145 months in federal prison;

  • Rodolfo Pimentel (Richard Pimentel’s brother), 46, of Palos Verdes Estates, who was sentenced to 87 months; and

  • Javier Rodriguez, 34, of Mar Vista, who received a 46-month prison sentence.

          Between February 2013 and October 2014, Richard Pimentel coordinated with his co-defendants and other co-conspirators to distribute approximately 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of cocaine, according to court documents. He admitted in his plea agreement that he arranged for couriers to transport cocaine obtained from drug suppliers in Mexico to locations in the United States and Canada. He also admitted that he and his co-defendants arranged for the proceeds from cocaine sales – minus their fees – to be sent back to Mexico. Pimentel and his co-conspirators used their cocaine trafficking proceeds to buy vehicles, home improvement and jewelry, among other items of personal use, according to court documents.

          He also admitted to arranging the cash payment of a $400,000 debt owed to a cocaine supplier in September 2013, his plea agreement states.

          This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Torrance Police Department.

          This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Puneet V. Kakkar of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Section and Cassie D. Palmer of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated February 12, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-019