Skip to main content
Press Release

Guilty Plea Reached After Over 50 Kilograms of Cocaine Interdicted in New Kent County

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

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Durham, North Carolina, man pleaded guilty today to attempted possession of more than 50 kilograms of cocaine.

According to court documents, on August 2, Jose Arellano-Rodriguez, 26, was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents when he brought $90,000 to a rest stop in New Kent County to pay for what he believed was a load of more than 50 kilograms of cocaine. The load had been intercepted one week prior by law enforcement from within a vehicle believed to have crossed the Mexican border into the United States. The individuals Arellano-Rodriguez provided the money to were members of law enforcement. Once the money was provided by Arellano-Rodriguez, he was arrested and taken into custody. Following his arrest, law enforcement discovered a firearm in Arellano-Rodriguez’s possession.

Arellano-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to attempted possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 20, 2024. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years and a maximum of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge for DEA’s Washington Division; and Derek W. Gordon, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C., made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Jamar K. Walker accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Hurt is prosecuting the case.

Assistance was provided by the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force.

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 are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:23-cr-61.

Updated October 16, 2023

Drug Trafficking