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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mexian National Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison For Cocaine And Heroin Trafficking And Related Charges

United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District Of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – On Tuesday, October 28, 2014, Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced Molina-Sanchez, 35, of Mexico, to serve 420 months in prison on drug trafficking and firearms charges, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. A federal jury convicted Molina-Sanchez in May 2013 of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and at least one kilogram of heroin, conspiracy to launder proceeds of drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Georgia and the Carolinas and Sheriff Kevin L. Auten of Rowan County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO).

According to filed court documents, trial evidence and today’s sentencing hearing, from 2004 to 2011, Molina-Sanchez and his conspirators obtained more than 350 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of more than $30 million from a supplier in California. Molina-Sanchez and his conspirators transported and distributed the cocaine to traffickers in North Carolina who then sold it throughout the state. Court records show that to transport the drugs without being detected, Molina-Sanchez and his conspirators hid the drugs and drug proceeds in secret car compartments. During the investigation, law enforcement found hundreds of thousands of dollars, three kilograms of cocaine, and a kilogram of heroin, all hidden in various locations within vehicles. When officers arrested Molina-Sanchez in October 2012, he was in possession of almost three ounces of cocaine, two handguns, and more than 100 rounds of ammunition, according to court records. Finally, based on evidence elicited at Molina-Sanchez’s May 2013 trial, law enforcement, post-trial, conducted a search of one of his vehicles and found a hidden compartment containing almost $50,000 in cash and three handguns.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that has resulted in the conviction of 14 defendants on cocaine trafficking, money laundering, and firearms charges. 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.

Molina-Sanchez has been in federal custody since October 2012. He will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The case was investigated by HSI in Charlotte and RCSO, assisted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and its crime laboratory, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and its crime laboratory, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman.

Updated March 19, 2015