Several members of a latino drug cartel sold drugs in Charlotte, NC and Union County, NC. On May 4, 2021 several of the cartel members were sentenced to prison. The prison sentences ranged from 30 to 300 months.
The suspects are Elio Garcia Godinez, 32, Ivan Trujillo Garcia, 23, Eleonel Castrejon Garcia, 24, Estefani Garcia Sandoval, 26, Luis David Bravo, 47, Miguel Benitez Castrejon, 40, and Matilde Isaias Cruz Portillo, 36.
The defendants are members of the Garcia Family drug trafficking organization. Over the course of the investigation, which began in April 2019, the defendants operated as a drug cartel and trafficked narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, in Union County and surrounding areas. The dangerous drugs were sent in from Mexico. The drug busts involved more than 16 kilograms of methamphetamine, totaling millions of dollars in profits.
The investigation began in March 2019. The FBI and ATF used confidential informants and undercover agents to buy drugs from the drug suspects on 25 different occasions. The products sold to the undercover agents and informants included guns, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.
The FBI also used sophisticated surveillance techniques to collect evidence on the drug suspects. Some of the undercover surveillance included the interception of electronic communications, tracking devices on vehicles, cell phone location data, and use of cell site simulators. Fixed surveillance along with aerial and mobile surveillance was also used on the drug suspects.
In April 2019 the FBI conducted a undercover drug purchase from Miguel Castrejon. The drug deal was audio and video recorded. Also in April 2019 Luis Bravo sold methamphetamine to an undercover FBI agent.
In July 2019 Luis conducted a $6,000 methamphetamine deal with undercover agents. Luis received the cash and then gave the undercovers 1 pound of methamphetamine.
In October 2019 Elio Godinez orchestrated a $15,500 drug deal involving the sell of 2 kilograms (bricks) of methamphetamine. The deal was so big that the cartel members in North Carolina had to call the drug boss in Mexico just to get approval for the sell.
In November 2019 3 kilograms of methamphetamine were sold to the undercover agents by the cartel. The FBI finally moved in to arrest the suspects in December 2019. There were various other drug sales that involved real drug buyers, and the cartel netted millions from the proceeds.
|PRISON SENTENCES FOR THE DRUG CARTEL MEMBERS|
Elio Garcia Godinez was sentenced to 300 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
Ivan Trujillo Garcia was sentenced to 87 months in prison and four years of supervised release.
Eleonel Castrejon Garcia was sentenced to 120 months in prison and five years of supervised release.
Luis David Bravo was sentenced to 60 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
Miguel Benitez Castrejon was sentenced to 97 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
Estefani Garcia Sandoval was sentenced to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
Matilde Isaias Cruz Portillo was sentenced to 84 months in prison and two years of supervised release.