California Man Sentenced for Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A California man who participated in a large-scale cocaine trafficking conspiracy was sentenced today to 162 months in prison.
Hilario Rodriguez, 50, pleaded guilty on April 12. According to court documents, Marvin O’Neal Carter, Sr., 49, of Newport News; Michael Stephen Kuna, 42, of Canada; Daniel Rodriguez, 49, and Hilario Rodriguez, both of California; were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Carter was also charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and maintaining a drug involved premises. In addition to the conspiracy charge, Daniel and Hilario Rodriguez were charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering.
According to court documents, agents observed the arrival of a tractor trailer at a garage leased by Carter. The tractor trailer eventually off-loaded the trailer next to the garage, and agents observed Michael Kuna, and Daniel and Hilario Rodriguez arrive and park in Carter’s garage parking lot. The four men then allegedly worked together to unload cocaine from hidden compartments located underneath the trailer. A short time later, Kuna was observed loading two large duffel bags with green straps into a vehicle before leaving the area. Law enforcement agents conducted a traffic stop on Kuna and located the two duffle bags which emanated with the odor of wet currency.
According to court documents, as Kuna was being detained, agents executed two federal search warrants on the garage and trailer. During the search, approximately 54 kilograms of cocaine and 100 bundles of cash in $5,000 to $10,000 stacks were recovered. The search of the garage also led to the recovery of a firearm and a quantity of heroin, in addition to approximately $42,000 in cash from a safe.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; Richard W. Myers, Chief of Newport News Police; and Terry L. Sult, Chief of Hampton Police Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard J. Zlotnick and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy E. Cross prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:16-cr-76.