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Press Release

Two Men Sentenced for Trafficking Multiple Kilograms of Cocaine for Mexico-Based Organization

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

RALEIGH, N.C. – Two men with ties to a Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization, one residing in Graham, North Carolina and the other in Brownsville, Texas were sentenced today for their involvement in a Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Marijuana.

Ramon Avila Davila, 35, and Irwin Abraham Baca, 31 were named in a three-count Superseding Indictment filed on April 9, 2019.  Count 1 charged each defendant with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine and a Quantity of Marijuana.  Count 2 charged Davila with Distribution of 500 Grams or More of Cocaine and a Quantity of Marijuana, Aiding, Abetting, and count 3 charged him with Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime.

On September 16, 2019, Baca pled guilty to Count One, and on December 11, 2019, Davila pled guilty to all three counts.  Today, Baca was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison.  Davila received a sentence of 160 months.

Davila and Baca were part of a drug trafficking organization based in Mexico. Davila resided in Graham, North Carolina, and distributed cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana in Eastern North Carolina. Baca regularly transported drugs and currency for the drug trafficking organization, and he also attempted to collect money for Davila.

On March 8, 2017, Baca was stopped for a traffic violation on Interstate 10 between San Antonio and Houston, Texas.  Agents searched the vehicle and found four kilograms of cocaine.  Following his arrest, Baca stated he had transported unspecified quantities of cocaine to North Carolina five times in the past.

On August 16, 2017, Baca was stopped in Houston after he exited a bus.  Officers subsequently searched Baca’s bag and found $84,005 in U.S. currency.  Upon questioning, Baca said the money did not belong to him, and that he had been paid $3,000 for transporting the money.

On December 18, 2017, agents seized 22 pounds of marijuana from Davila on its way to a confidential informant (CI). The CI indicated his source of supply was Davila, and he had received marijuana from Davila for the prior two years. Agents subsequently used the CI to make a controlled purchase of marijuana and cocaine from Davila. 

On February 20, 2018, Davila was seen leaving his residence in Graham. Shortly thereafter, Davila was stopped for speeding.  A search of his vehicle found 8 pounds of marijuana.

Following his arrest, investigators searched three residences associated with Davila.  In a residence on Deep Creek Church Road in Burlington, North Carolina, officers found 457.1 grams of methamphetamine behind a void in the wall and a kilogram press with cocaine residue.  Davila admitted that he had recently pressed five kilograms of cocaine.  Officers then searched a Graham Street address in Burlington attributable to Davila and found 43 pounds of marijuana in the attic.  Lastly, a search of his residence in Graham produced $14,670 in U.S. currency, a small amount of marijuana, and a .40 caliber handgun in the master bedroom. 

In March 2018, Baca continued to contact the CI in an attempt to collect money owed to Davila for the marijuana and cocaine purchased on February 16, 2018.  Agents subsequently determined Baca was staying at a local hotel in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and began surveillance there. 

On March 22, 2018, officers searched Baca’s room and found cocaine. Agents then searched another residence in Maxton, North Carolina and seized approximately eight kilograms of cocaine that had been hidden in hollowed-out batteries, as well as more than $193,000 in currency.

Based on the above, between 2017 and 2018, Baca was accountable for almost 30 kilograms of cocaine and 2.5 kilograms of marijuana. Davila was accountable for more than 14 kilograms of cocaine, 457.1 grams of methamphetamine, and 41.5 kilograms of marijuana.  Davila was a manager of criminal activity that involved five or more participants and he maintained premises for his controlled substance activities and imported drugs into the United States. Lastly, Davila possessed a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking crimes.

Robert J. Higdon, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, the Houston Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) investigated this case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott A. Lemmon  prosecuted the case.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  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.

This case is part of 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

Related court documents and information are located on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:19-cr-00112-BO.


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Updated June 11, 2020

Drug Trafficking