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Press Release

California Methamphetamine Trafficker Sentenced To More Than 15 Years In Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. B Today, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. sentenced Fernando Morales-Matos to 188 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release on drug trafficking offenses, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Morales-Matos, 45, of Carlsbad, California, pleaded guilty in February 2017 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with an intent to distribute methamphetamine and three counts of possession with an intent to distribute methamphetamine.


U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by C.J. Hyman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.


According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, from in or about June 2016 until July 27, 2016, Morales-Matos and his cousin and co-defendant, Mario Canino-Morales, were involved in a drug conspiracy with the Mexican cartel responsible for trafficking large amounts of crystal methamphetamine in Mecklenburg County. According to court records, the co-conspirators admitted to being part of the Mexican cartel, with intentions to expand methamphetamine distribution in Charlotte. Court records show that the co-conspirators were responsible for trafficking more than 2.5 kilograms of 96% pure methamphetamine. In addition to the methamphetamine, when the two men were arrested, law enforcement recovered a loaded 9mm handgun.


Morales-Matos is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. Canino-Morales was previously sentenced to 109 months in federal prison for his involvement in this conspiracy.


In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Rose thanked ATF and CMPD for leading the investigation.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted this case.


Updated September 6, 2017