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Press Release

Trafficker Sentenced For Cocaine And Money Laundering Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court today, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced RAUL PINEDA, 32, of Anaheim, California, to 89 months in prison and 5 years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.  PINEDA previously pled guilty to these charges on May 13, 2014.   FABIO HIROCHI INOUE, one of PINEDA’S co-conspirators, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and 5 years of supervised release for the same charges by Judge Flanagan on June 10, 2015.

The investigation revealed that between April 2013 and September 22, 2013, PINEDA sent INOUE, to Johnston County, North Carolina, to deliver cocaine and collect drug proceeds for a drug trafficking organization operating out of Mexico and California.  INOUE made several trips during this time period to meet with cocaine traffickers in the Johnston County, N.C., area.  During these trips INOUE delivered multiple kilograms of cocaine and collected drug proceeds.  INOUE laundered some of the drug proceeds by depositing portions into a bank account in the name of a real estate business located in California.  Based on the investigation, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) discovered that INOUE would be flying to the Raleigh Durham International Airport with several kilograms of cocaine on September 22, 2013.  Agents found INOUE at the airport and seized his luggage which contained 3,891 grams of cocaine.  Agents arrested INOUE after seizing the cocaine.

On November 19, 2013, DEA learned that PINEDA traveled to Garner, N.C., to transport 2 kilograms of cocaine to the Johnston County traffickers.  Agents located PINEDA after he exited a hotel in Garner to deliver the cocaine.  Agents arrested PINEDA after locating 2 kilograms of cocaine in PINEDA’S backpack.  In total, PINEDA was found to be responsible for trafficking 14.89 kilograms of cocaine and laundering drug proceeds totaling $170,985.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division.  The federal prosecution was handled by Special Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Perry.  Mr. Perry is a prosecutor with the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office.  Pitt County District Attorney Kimberly Robb has assigned Mr. Perry to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force criminal matters.  Mr. Perry’s assignment to the United States Attorney’s Office has been made possible by grants funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission.

Updated November 4, 2015