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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Georgia

Friday, November 16, 2018

Heroin Trafficker Indicted for Transporting 4.5 Kilograms Hidden Inside Car Battery

ATLANTA - Francisco Castaneda Rivera has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly transporting 4.5 kilograms of heroin - hidden inside a car battery - from Texas to the Atlanta area.

“Drug trafficking organizations go to great lengths to creatively conceal and transport their poisonous merchandise across the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “Thanks to our vigilant and perceptive law enforcement agents, this large quantity of heroin was discovered and seized before it could make its way into our community.”

“Drug distribution is about delivering misery to the consumer,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “DEA’s mission is about removing the supply before it gets to the consumer. This case was successful because of the dedicated efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court:  On October 20, 2018, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle from Texas traveling east along Interstate 20 in Douglas County, Georgia.  Rivera, who was previously known to law enforcement, was the owner and an occupant of the vehicle.  Law enforcement searched the vehicle and observed that the battery in the truck was significantly cleaner than the rest of the engine compartment.  Upon closer inspection, agents realized that the battery had been altered.  They opened it and found five packages wrapped in electrical tape along with a motorcycle battery wired to provide electrical current sufficient to operate the vehicle.  The substance inside the packages tested positive for heroin.  Rivera was arrested and denied bond. 

Francisco Castaneda Rivera, 64, of Houston, Texas was charged with possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least one kilogram of heroin.  He was arraigned on November 16, 2018, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with valuable assistance provided by the Georgia State Patrol.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Garrett L. Bradford and David A. O’Neal are prosecuting the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site:

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated November 16, 2018