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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Fayetteville Man Sentenced to 97 Months for Cocaine Distribution

RALEIGH – United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announces that United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced WILMER LUIS MEJIAS, 44, of Fayetteville, NC, today. MEJIAS was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release. 

MEJIAS was named in a 12-count Indictment filed on December 12, 2017.  On February 5, 2018, he pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine from 2015 to December 12, 2017.

In 2015, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified members of a Puerto Rican drug trafficking organization (DTO) operating in Cumberland and Sampson counties.  Surveillance, wire intercepts and confidential sources of information (CSIs) were used to identify multiple drug traffickers working in connection with the DTO. Specifically, the investigation identified MEJIAS as one of the members of the DTO who helped traffic cocaine into the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Agents began receiving information about the DTO from CSI #1.  Specifically, CSI #1 stated that MEJIAS and others, including co-conspirator Luis Joel Robles Latorres, sentenced on June 18, 2019 to 162 months of imprisonment, would arrange large cocaine shipments from Puerto Rico.  MEJIAS was also responsible for collecting drug proceeds and sending them back to the DTO in Puerto Rico. 

On November 3, 2017, agents intercepted multiple calls in which Lattores arranged the purchase of 1.5 kilograms of cocaine. Surveillance units followed the source to Latorres’s residence in Fayetteville and then to a restaurant parking lot.  Agents subsequently stopped the vehicle driven by an individual affiliated with the drug trafficking organization and seized a black bag containing $45,000 in U.S. currency.

The investigation established that between November 2014 and November 2017, MEJIAS was personally involved in the distribution of more than 30 kilograms of cocaine.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) named Operation La Vida Loca. OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

That effort has been implemented through the United States Attorney’s Office’s Take Back North Carolina Initiative.  This initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement.  For additional information about this initiative, click here https://www.justice.gov/usao-ednc/tbnc.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fayetteville Police Department, Sampson County Sheriffs’ Office and the Wilmington Police Department investigated this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Scott A. Lemmon prosecuted this case for the government. 

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The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated January 21, 2020