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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Five Sentenced For Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy In Eastern North Carolina

WILMINGTON – The United States Attorney’s Office announces that five individuals were sentenced for their involvement in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy.  All five were part of the same drug trafficking organization operating in the Rocky Mount area.

The following individuals were indicted on October 22, 2015.  Count 1 charged conspiracy possess with the intent to distribute cocaine from August 2015 to October 22, 2015.  Counts 2, 4, & 5 charged carrying and using a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime and possession of such firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on August 26, 2015.  Count 3 charged possession of a firearm by a felon on August 26, 2015.  DERRICK PITTMAN, GUILLERMO ESPINOSA, RAMIRO CALIXTRO, and ALEXIS CALIXTRO-CASAS pled guilty and were sentenced to the following.  JORGE ESPINOSA was convicted after a jury trial and was sentenced to the following.  The count(s) of the indictment in which each defendant was convicted is shown below:

  • Derek Pittman, 32, of Battleboro, NC – Counts 1 & 4, 197 months imprisonment; 5 years supervised release

  • Guillermo Monge Espinosa, 44, of Tarboro, NC – Count 1, 236 months imprisonment; 5 years supervised release

  • Ramiro Calixtro, 43, of Rocky Mount, NC – Count 1, 60 monthsimprisonment; 5 years supervised release

  • Alexis Calixtro-Casas, 21, of Rocky Mount, NC – Counts 1 & 5, 81 months imprisonment; 3 years supervised release

  • Jorge Espinosa, 23, of Greenville, NC – Count 1, 188 months imprisonment; 5 years supervised release

In August 2015, federal and local law enforcement agencies utilized a confidential informant (CI) to arrange a two-kilogram purchase of cocaine from ALEXIS CALIXTRO-CASAS.  CALIXTRO-CASAS contacted his uncle, RAMIRO CALIXTRO, a drug associate of GUILLERMO ESPINOSA, to supply the two kilograms of cocaine for the transaction.  On August 26, 2015, while under the surveillance of several law enforcement agencies, CALIXTRO-CASAS and the CI met in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Rocky Mount to complete the transaction.  Shortly thereafter, GUILLERMO ESPINOSA and RAMIRO CALIXTRO arrived in the parking lot.  GUILLERMO ESPINOSA led the CI to the residence of DERRICK PITTMAN in the Battleboro community of Rocky Mount.  GUILLERMO ESPINOSA telephoned his son, JORGE ESPINOSA, who, along with an unidentified and unindicted coconspirator, soon arrived at the PITTMAN residence with one kilogram of cocaine for the CI to inspect for quality. When they arrived, GUILLERMO ESPINOSA received a handgun and the cocaine from either the unidentified/unindicted coconspirator or from PITTMAN.  After the CI was satisfied with the quality of the cocaine, the CI left PITTMAN’S residence with the intent to return with cash to purchase two kilograms of cocaine from GUILLERMO ESPINOSA.  Because the number of participants involved in this transaction was much greater than law enforcement officers anticipated, the officers decided to execute simultaneous traffic stops of the vehicles driven by GUILLERMO ESPINOSA and CALIXTRO-CASAS.  

Within minutes of these stops, officers raided PITTMAN’S residence and PITTMAN was apprehended.  Officers seized 993.74 grams of cocaine and a loaded handgun from PITTMAN’S property.  Approximately $2,000 in cash was seized from PITTMAN’S person.

Around this time, officers established surveillance at a residence on Deer Run Road in Rocky Mount where ROSA HERNANDEZ (who was initially indicted but passed away from an illness while awaiting disposition) and her daughter, GLORIA SOLANO (awaiting sentencing), were staying.  Through the investigation, law enforcement linked HERNANDEZ to GUILLERMO ESPINOSA. While conducting surveillance at the Deer Run Road residence, law enforcement observed ADAN ESPINO, II (awaiting sentencing) driving the GMC onto the property. GLORIA SOLANO and ROSA HERNANDEZ also arrived at the property in a separate vehicle.  Hernandez went inside the house and returned to place a bag inside the GMC.  ESPINO left the property in the GMC and was stopped by officers.  Numerous packages containing $141,014 in cash were seized from inside the GMC.  Seven packages containing a total of $139,580 were located inside the hidden compartment. 

A search of the Deer Run Road property yielded a ledger, a money-counting machine, money-packaging materials, and $8,000 in cash were seized.  The investigation revealed that they packaged and delivered approximately $140,000 in cash to ESPINO at GUILLERMO ESPINOSA’S residence on August 25, 2015.  Examination of the ledger revealed that 26 kilograms of cocaine were received in Rocky Mount from Texas on August 24, 2015, and that $910,000 in cash was to be transported to Texas as payment for the cocaine.  

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office; the Nash County Sheriff’s Office; the Rocky Mount Police Department; the Tarboro Police Department; and the Pine Tops Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick B. Weede and Assistant United States Attorney Toby Lathan prosecuted the case for the government.

Updated May 12, 2016