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Press Release

Leaders Of Poly-Drug Distribution Network Plead Guilty In Federal Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
Multi-Agency Investigation Led to the Seizure of Substantial Quantities of Narcotics, Firearms, and Drug Proceeds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Salvador Barrera, Jr., 27, and Ricardo Jonathan Gomez, 27, both of Charlotte, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler today and pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

According to filed documents and statements made in court, Barrera and Gomez were leaders of a large drug trafficking organization (DTO) responsible for the distribution of substantial quantities of narcotics in Charlotte and surrounding areas. According to court documents, over the course of the multi-agency investigation into the DTO, law enforcement seized large quantities of narcotics, including approximately 328 kilograms of cocaine, 26 kilograms of fentanyl, and a kilogram of heroin. In addition to the narcotics, law enforcement seized approximately 60 firearms, 18 high capacity magazines, more than $2.4 million in cash drug proceeds, over $300,000 in jewelry, two residences, ten vehicles, a boat, and two tractor-trailers with hidden compartments for smuggling narcotics.

Barrera and Gomez are currently in federal custody. The drug trafficking charge to which they pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a fine of up to $10 million. A sentencing date for the defendants has not been set.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King commended the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Mint Hill Police Department, the Cornelius Police Department, the Pineville Police Department, the Monroe Police Department, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office, the Salisbury Police Department, the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office, the Albemarle Police Department, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the Anderson County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office, and the York County (South Carolina) Drug Enforcement Unit for their coordination and investigation of the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles criminal organizations using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at


Updated October 7, 2022

Drug Trafficking