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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Monday, February 26, 2018

Federal Judge Sentences Drug Dealer To More Than 11 Years In Prison

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Jonathan Cortez, 24, of Charlotte, was sentenced today to 135 months in prison and five years of supervised release on drug charges, announced R. Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  

Greg Wiest, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department join U.S. Attorney Murray in making today’s announcement. 

According to filed court documents and court records, on February 13, 2017, an undercover officer contacted Cortez to arrange the purchase of 15 kilograms of cocaine.  The undercover officer made arrangements to meet with Cortez and another individual at a residence in Mint Hill, N.C., to purchase seven kilograms of cocaine at first, and another eight kilograms at a later time.  On the same day, court records show that law enforcement observed Cortez heading toward the meeting location.  When law enforcement attempted to stop Cortez’s vehicle, Cortez sped away, eventually crashing the vehicle.  Cortez then fled in a second vehicle, but he was taken into custody by law enforcement a short while later. 

After Cortez was apprehended, law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence and seized over seven kilograms of cocaine and two handguns. Cortez has prior felony convictions and he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.  

In May 2017, Cortez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. He 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.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked HSI and CMPD for investigating the case. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.


Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated February 27, 2018