Texas Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced To More Than 18 Years In Prison And Forfeits More Than $1.2 Million Dollars
Ocala, Florida – Senior U.S. District Judge Wm. Terrell Hodges today sentenced Rolando Pinon (46, San Benito, Texas) to 18 years and 6 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The Court also ordered him to forfeit more than $1.2 million dollars in property and cash, which were determined to be traceable proceeds of the offense. Pinon pleaded guilty on November 25, 2014.
According to court documents and evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, Pinon had a long-time source for large quantities of cocaine in Matamoros, Mexico. Since 2007, he had used various modes of transportation to move the drugs from Texas to Ocala, and had employed a series of drivers, including Jose Manuel Tovar. The investigation revealed that Pinon had sold in excess of 150 kilograms of cocaine to an Ocala-based customer, who then had sold the drugs to multi-kilogram cocaine dealers in the Marion County area.
On August 29, 2014, the Ocala Police Department conducted a traffic stop of a truck Tovar was driving on his way from Texas. During the stop and ensuing search of the vehicle, officers located a marine-style cooler. Once disassembled, the cooler was found to contain six kilograms of cocaine. DEA agents subsequently arrested Pinon in Texas. Tovar was previously sentenced to six years in federal prison on January 22, 2015.
During the course of the conspiracy, Pinon laundered drug money by amassing rental properties in Texas, placing the properties in various nominee names, and renting them for profit. He also purchased a parcel of property and opened a vehicle sales business known as Elik Motors. Elik Motors bought cars at auction and resold them. As part of the plea agreement, Pinon forfeited the rental properties, Elik Motors, and cash. The total amount of the forfeiture exceeded $1.2 million dollars.
This case is another prosecution in the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Wind Sock. The principal mission of the OCDETF Program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation's drug supply.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, which is comprised of Narcotics Agents from the Ocala Police Department and Marion County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Tysen Duva.