Former Soldier Receives 15 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking Ketamine and Laundering More than $700,000
RALEIGH – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert J. Higdon, Jr., announced that United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced JOAQUIN R. ORTEGA, 36, of Graham, North Carolina, to 252 months imprisonment followed by 60 months of supervised release.
ORTEGA was charged in a five-count Indictment that was issued by the grand jury for the Eastern District of North Carolina on January 12, 2017. The indictment charged him with multiple drug trafficking counts relating to the distribution of crystal methamphetamine and with firearms charges relating to drug trafficking.
In 2015 and 2016, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigated a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that primarily operated in Virginia and North Carolina. The DTO was known to distribute large quantities of crystal methamphetamine through multiple distribution points in both Virginia and North Carolina. On September 22, 2016, the DEA and local law enforcement ordered five (5) pounds of crystal methamphetamine from a member of the DTO who lived in Alamance County, North Carolina. When the ordered methamphetamine was being delivered, law enforcement observed ORTEGA and four (4) other individuals in separate vehicles meet the undercover informant in a parking lot before completing the deal. Law enforcement arrested ORTEGA and the other four individuals with whom ORTEGA was working with to make the delivery.
At sentencing, the Court found that ORTEGA was the leader of the DTO who was responsible for supplying and distributing large quantities of crystal methamphetamine throughout the Southeastern United States.
This case was brought by the United States Attorney’s Office through partnership with the Clayton Police Department, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brad Knott.