CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. ordered Ramiro Garcia-Valdivia, 33, of Mexico, to serve 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release for drug trafficking and immigration violations, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
According to court documents and court proceedings, in 2019, Garcia-Valdivia was working for the CJNG Mexican Cartel, and was responsible for trafficking multiple kilograms of heroin into Western North Carolina. On October 1, 2019, law enforcement arrested Garcia-Valdivia in Gastonia, North Carolina. Over the course of the arrest, law enforcement recovered more than eight kilograms of heroin wrapped in bundles, hidden in Garcia-Valdivia’s Ford Explorer vehicle. Court records show that Garcia-Valdivia intended to deliver these narcotics to other co-conspirators. According to court records, Garcia-Valdivia, who was in the country illegally after being previously deported, engaged in drug trafficking activities while there was an outstanding immigration order for his deportation from the United States.
“Garcia-Valdivia violated our nation’s drug and immigration laws, and trafficked large quantities of heroin, a poisonous substance that shatters our communities and causes thousands of overdose deaths in our country. The lengthy sentence imposed by the Court is appropriate for Garcia-Valdivia’s harmful criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Murray.
On March 10, 2020, Garcia-Valdivia pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and illegal reentry by an aggravated felon. Garcia-Valdivia is in federal custody, and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility.
The investigation was led by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, and the Gaston County Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sanjeev Bhasker and Kenneth Smith, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.