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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 11, 2018

Nine have been sentenced in a Mexico-based methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking operation

ATLANTA – Elmer Uriel Moreno-Armas, Leonardo Garcia Castro, Guillermo Rios, Jorge Alberto Barajas Govea, Pedro Oseguera Ramirez, Hugo Leon-Mendez a/k/a Guero, Warren Ferguson, Stephan Sessoms, and Tyler Owens have been sentenced for their respective roles in trafficking more than 58 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, 28 kilograms of methamphetamine, or “ice,” and 5 kilograms of cocaine. All nine were active participants in a Mexico-based drug trafficking operation.

 

“These defendants are responsible for a significant amount of dangerous narcotics hitting the streets.  Their actions undoubtedly fueled addictions which have ravaged many families and communities of this district,” said U. S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “Through the dedicated work of law enforcement, these defendants were stopped before they could manufacture any more of this poison destined for our streets.”

 

“Methamphetamine continues to wreak havoc in our communities.  Rest assured DEA and our federal, state and local partners along with our U.S Attorney’s Office are committed to ensuring drug traffickers like these face well deserved justice,” said Atlanta Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Murphy.

        

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court:  Defendants Elmer Uriel Moreno-Armas, Leonardo Garcia Castro, Guillermo Rios, Jorge Alberto Barajas Govea, Pedro Oseguera Ramirez, Hugo Leon-Mendez a/k/a Guero, Warren Ferguson, Stephan Sessoms, and Tyler Owens participated in a drug trafficking operation that involved converting liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine at various residences throughout the metropolitan Atlanta area and also distributing methamphetamine and cocaine. 

 

In particular, Elmer Uriel Moreno-Armas worked at a residence used by this drug trafficking operation to convert liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine.  On March 25, 2015, law enforcement was executed a search warrant at the residence where approximately 16 kilograms of methamphetamine and approximately 27 gallons of liquid methamphetamine was seized.  Later that same day law enforcement executed a search warrant at a second residence on the same street.  The traffickers used the home to store liquid methamphetamine and distribute methamphetamine. 

 

At the second residence, law enforcement seized more than 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, approximately 27 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, $34,914, as well as a firearm.  Surveillance footage from a security camera at that residence showed Moreno-Armas assisting with the transport of five-gallon buckets full of liquid methamphetamine in the two weeks leading up to March 25, 2015 search warrant execution.  In addition, Moreno-Armas sold approximately one kilogram of methamphetamine to a customer in the parking lot of a retail store in Norcross, Georgia, on May 26, 2015.

 

Leonardo Garcia Castro and Guillermo Rios lived at a College Park, Georgia, residence that this trafficking operation used to convert liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine.  On November 29, 2016, law enforcement executed a search warrant at this residence.  While there, they noted both Garcia and Rios were covered in methamphetamine residue.  Law enforcement seized approximately six kilograms of methamphetamine that had not been destroyed by Garcia and Castro prior to law enforcement’s entry into the residence. 

 

Jorge Alberto Barajas Govea and Pedro Oseguera Ramirez lived at a Jonesboro, Georgia, property that was being used by the traffickers to convert liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine.  On November 29, 2016, law enforcement executed a search warrant at this property and seized just over five kilograms of methamphetamine, approximately 4.5 gallons of liquid methamphetamine, approximately one kilogram of cocaine, and $12,284 in cash. 

 

Hugo Leon-Mendez a/k/a Guero routinely visited each of the residences the traffickers used to convert liquid methamphetamine and bought supplies to assist in the methamphetamine conversion process.  He also met at least one of the tractor-trailers that traveled from Texas, likely transporting liquid methamphetamine for conversion at the Jonesboro property.  Leon-Mendez also used his Atlanta residence to store narcotics and conduct narcotics transactions. 

 

On July 23, 2015, Leon-Mendez sold one kilogram of methamphetamine to an undercover agent, half of which he retrieved from his Atlanta residence.  Then in November 2016, he distributed at least five kilograms of methamphetamine to various customers from his residence.  On November 29, 2016, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Leon-Mendez’s Palmetto, Georgia, residence and seized four firearms and $11,178 in cash. 

 

Warren Ferguson, Stephan Sessoms, and Tyler Owens, together, distributed methamphetamine and cocaine for this drug trafficking operation.  Through traffic stops and an undercover operation, law enforcement seized approximately 25 kilograms of methamphetamine and five kilograms of cocaine between April 2015 and March 2016. 

 

During a traffic stop on March 15, 2016, in particular, law enforcement seized approximately ten kilograms of methamphetamine and a loaded firearm from Sessoms.  Just prior to the stop, Sessoms and Owens had met with other participants of this drug trafficking operation.  

         

All nine defendants were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. to the following sentences:

 

    • Elmer Uriel Moreno-Armas, 31, of Mexico, was sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In addition, the Court ordered Moreno-Armas to be turned over to Immigration officials for removal proceedings after serving his custodial sentence.  Moreno-Armas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine on June 14, 2017.

 

    • Leonardo Garcia Castro, 27, of College Park, Georgia, was sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  Garcia Castro pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine on May 16, 2017.

 

    • Guillermo Rios, 28, of Mexico, was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In addition, the Court ordered Rios to be turned over to Immigration officials for removal proceedings after serving his custodial sentence.  Rios pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine on May 19, 2017.

 

    • Jorge Alberto Barajas Govea, 37, of Mexico, was sentenced to seven years and seven months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In addition, the Court ordered Barajas Govea to be turned over to Immigration officials for removal proceedings after serving his custodial sentence.  Barajas Govea pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine on June 14, 2017.

 

    • Pedro Oseguera Ramirez, 28, of Mexico, was sentenced to eight years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In addition, the Court ordered Oseguera Ramirez to be turned over to Immigration officials for removal proceedings after serving his custodial sentence.  Oseguera Ramirez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine on July 7, 2017.

 

    • Hugo Leon-Mendez, a/k/a Guero, 28, of Mexico, was sentenced to 19 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  In addition, the Court ordered Leon-Mendez to be turned over to Immigration officials for removal proceedings after serving his custodial sentence.  Leon-Mendez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine on May 16, 2017.

 

    • Warren Ferguson, a/k/a Weezy, 37, of Lithonia, Georgia, was sentenced to 18 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  Ferguson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine on April 28, 2017. 

 

    • Stephan Sessoms, 36, of Decatur, Georgia, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  Sessoms pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense on May 19, 2017.    

 

    • Tyler Owens, a/k/a Unc, 43, of East Point, Georgia, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  Owens pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense on August 9, 2017. 

 

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney DeLana Jones prosecuted 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: www.justthinktwice.gov.

 

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated January 11, 2018