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Press Release

North Carolina Based Cartel Manager Pleads Guilty to Heroin and Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy

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

NORFOLK, Va. – A High Point, North Carolina woman pleaded guilty today to her role in an international drug-trafficking organization.

According to court documents, Vanessa Garcia, 34, was the manager of a Mexican-based drug cartel’s North Carolina distribution point for heroin and methamphetamine. She maintained a drug premises in High Point, where she stored wholesale amounts of drugs and recruited and supervised co-conspirators who trafficked the drugs and drug proceeds to communities outside the state, including to Hampton Roads. Three of her co-conspirators were arrested in Virginia Beach in possession of roughly one kilogram of heroin and one kilogram of methamphetamine, which they had transported from Garcia’s stash house at her direction. Garcia was arrested late last year in Detroit with 700 grams of heroin in her possession. After pleading guilty and being sentenced there, she was transferred to federal custody here to face this conspiracy charge.

Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Garcia faces a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in prison when sentenced on Oct. 26, 2020. 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.

The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), Operation Fallen Angel. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division; and Anthony F. Zucaro, Jr., Interim Chief of Virginia Beach Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson is prosecuting 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 are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-22.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated June 25, 2020

Drug Trafficking