Methamphetamine Trafficker Is Found Guilty Of Drug And Gun Charges
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina
The Defendant also Pleaded Guilty to a Firearms Offense
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. Attorney Dena J. King announced today that a federal jury has convicted Jonathan Craig Otuel, 36, of Stallings, N.C., of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Otuel previously pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to court documents, trial evidence, and witness testimony, on November 19, 2019, officers with the Pineville Police Department responded to a call for service at a hotel room, where they located Otuel and three other individuals. Officers also located methamphetamine. Trial evidence established that a search warrant for the hotel room was issued. During the search, law enforcement recovered multiple bags of methamphetamine, and a firearm. Law enforcement also recovered from the hotel parking lot an additional firearm, which the defendant had thrown over the balcony. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement determined that Otuel was responsible for trafficking significant amounts of methamphetamine in Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties.
Otuel remains in federal custody. A sentencing date has not been set. The charges of conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime each carry a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison. The charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pineville Police Department and the Gaston County Police Department for their investigation of the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Regina Pack and Timothy Sielaff of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte are prosecuting the case.
Updated August 2, 2023