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Press Release

Federal Judge Sentences Two Methamphetamine Traffickers To Lengthy Prison Terms

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

STATESVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Richard L. Voorhees handed down lengthy prison terms to two methamphetamine traffickers today, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  Roger Dale Franklin, 54, of Bogart, Georgia, was sentenced to 40 years and Mario Alberto Mondragon, 38, of Mexico, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.  They were each ordered to serve five years under court supervision, following their prison terms.

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Daniel R. Salter, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office and Nick Annan, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta and the Carolinas.

According to court proceedings, filed documents and evidence presented at each defendant’s trial:

Franklin was involved in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, from about 2007 to about 2014, and, along with his conspirators, Franklin sold approximately five kilograms of methamphetamine.  Over the course of the conspiracy, in 2013, law enforcement officials in Lenoir and Caldwell County, as well as in Morganton, seized methamphetamine from Franklin’s vehicle on four occasions.  On two of those occasions, Franklin was in possession of handguns.

From 2012 to June 2014, Mondragon was responsible for trafficking over 4.5 kilograms of high-quality crystal methamphetamine “ice” - which has a street value of more than $150,000.

The defendants will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation to a federal facility.  All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The sentencings are the result of two parallel and coordinated Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations, codenamed “Lay Low” (involving Mondragon) and “Dixie Crystal” (involving Franklin) led by DEA and HSI, with the assistance of the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office, Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Hickory Police Department, Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, Lenoir Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Mooresville Police Department, Pineville Police Department, Statesville Police Department, Burke County Task Force, and other law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina and Texas, Georgia, and Tennessee.       

According to court documents, to date, more than 80 individuals have been convicted as a result of the two related investigations.  Court records show that the drug trafficking organizations involved have trafficked methamphetamine worth millions of dollars.  Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $100,000 in U.S. currency and other assets, and numerous firearms. 

OCDETF is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney Rose thanked all the law enforcement agencies for their investigative efforts.  The prosecution for both investigations is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

Updated February 29, 2016