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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mexican Drug Trafficker Sentenced To 21 Years In Prison

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

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Carlos Edgar Sandoval-Uriel, 31, of Mexico, was sentenced today by Chief District Judge Frank D. Whitney to serve 252 months in prison, for his role as the leader of the Charlotte cell of an international drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Judge Whitney also sentenced Sandoval-Uriel to five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Ryan L. Spradlin, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ICE/Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta and the Carolinas; Chief Rodney Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Chief Cleveland Spruill of the Huntersville Police Department; and Chief Bence Hoyle of the Cornelius Police Department.

According to filed documents and court proceedings, Sandoval-Uriel was the leader of the Charlotte cell of a transnational drug trafficking organization that shipped marijuana across the United States-Mexico border. Court records indicate that Sandoval-Uriel’s cell operated in and around Charlotte from 2008 to April 2012, and was responsible for trafficking over a ton of marijuana to the area. Court records show that on April 2, 2012, the drug organization transported into the United States 3,168 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of more than $2.5 million. The marijuana was hidden inside industrial-sized metal farming equipment.

According to court records, on April 9, 2012, law enforcement agents conducted a controlled delivery of the marijuana to the organization’s initial staging location in Charlotte. On April 17, 2012, law enforcement in Charlotte arrested members of the local drug cell and executed search warrants at homes suspected to be involved in the conspiracy. While executing a search warrant at a local stash house, law enforcement recovered two kilograms of cocaine and a handgun. At Sandoval-Uriel’s house, law enforcement found $192,730 in cash, an automatic money counter, a computer with ledgers of prior drug-related transactions, and bank slips for deposits of drug proceeds that conspirators made on Sandoval-Uriel’s behalf. Sandoval-Uriel pleaded guilty in November 2013 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

This prosecution is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that has resulted in the conviction of 12 defendants on marijuana trafficking and money laundering 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.

In addition to Sandoval-Uriel, the following convictions stem from this investigation:

• Jose Luis Sandoval-Godoy - 168 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
• Victor Aurelio Guerra - 151 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
• Andres G. Herbas - 121 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
• Guillermo Garza-Sanchez - 121 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
• Paul Isaac Ayala, Jr. - 70 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.
• Cesar Garcia: 57 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.
• Jose Alejandro Segovia - 57 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.
• Ricardo Munoz-Contreras - 57 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.
• Jose Zenteno - 30 months in prison, followed by three years supervised release.
• Carla Georgina Moscoso Romay - two years of probation (including with 6 months home detention) and a $3,000 fine.
• Rigoberto Pacheco-Carrillo - time-served sentence, followed by one year of supervised release.

Sandoval-Uriel has been in custody since April 17, 2012. He will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The investigation was led by HSI, CMPD, Huntersville PD, and Cornelius PD, with assistance from the Pineville Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement, North Carolina Highway Patrol, Concord Police Department, Gastonia Police Department, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, and Iredell County Sheriff’s Office.

The prosecution for the government was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.



Updated March 19, 2015