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Press Release

Law Enforcement Arrest Eight Involved In Drug Trafficking Organization Operating In And Around Union County

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Federal criminal complaints were unsealed today in federal court, following the arrest of eight individuals involved in a drug trafficking organization operating in and around Union County, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. 

Agents and officers with the FBI, ATF, DEA, ICE-ERO, the Monroe Police Department, the Union county Sheriff’s Office, and the Wadesboro Police Department executed the arrest warrants yesterday, during an early morning round-up.

According to allegations contained in the criminal complaints, the eight individuals arrested are members of the Garcia Family drug trafficking organization (DTO).  Over the course of the investigation, which began in April 2019, the defendants operated as a drug conspiracy and allegedly trafficked narcotics, including heroin and methamphetamine, in Union County and surrounding areas.  The complaints charge the eight defendants with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Those arrested and charged are:

  • Elio Garcia Godinez, 30, of Monroe, N.C.
  • Ivan Jardon Trujillo, 47, of Monroe, N.C.
  • Ivan Trujillo Garcia, 21, of Monroe, N.C.
  • Eleonel Castrejon Garcia, 23, of Monroe, N.C.
  • Estefani Garcia Sandoval, 25, of Monroe, N.C.
  • Luis David Bravo, 36, of Monroe, N.C.
  • Miguel Benitez Castrejon, 39, of Monroe, N.C.
  • Matilde Isaias Cruz Portillo, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia.


The defendants had their initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer.  Their next court appearance is scheduled for December 11, 2019.

The penalty associated with the drug conspiracy charge carries a minimum term of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine.

The charges contained in the charging documents are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI, ATF, DEA, the Monroe Police Department and the Union County Sheriff’s Office for their investigation which led to the federal charges.  U.S. Attorney Murray also noted the assistance provided by ICE – Enforcement & Removal Operations and the Wadesboro Police Department.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Lindahl of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  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 level drug trafficking organizations and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.


Updated December 6, 2019

Drug Trafficking