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On February 9, 2021 a Charlotte, NC federal jury convicted Cristian Cabrera-Rivas, 39, of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Cabrera-Rivas is a member of the ruthless MS-13 Latino street gang.

Cabrera-Rivas and two other individuals identified as Marco Ramos-Garcia and Silvia Hernandez-Iturralde, were involved in a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine in and around Gaston County, NC. They are all illegal immigrants.

Trial evidence established that in early January 2019, Cabrera-Rivas arranged to sell two kilograms of methamphetamine for $24,000. Cabrera-Rivas directed Ramos-Garcia to transport the methamphetamine from Texas to Gastonia, N.C., for the sale.

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On January 7, 2019, Cabrera-Rivas and Ramos-Garcia met at a restaurant in Gastonia, NC and then drove separately to the sale location. At that location, law enforcement found Ramos-Garcia and Hernandez-Iturralde in a van, along with two kilograms of methamphetamine, a firearm, and cocaine.

Law enforcement arrested Cabrera-Rivas on scene following a brief foot chase. Cabrera-Rivas is currently in federal custody. At sentencing, he faces 10 years to life in prison for each offense.

A sentencing date for Cabrera-Rivas has not been set. Ramos-Garcia and Hernandez-Iturralde have already been sentenced, after pleading guilty to federal drug offenses. Ramos-Garcia was sentenced to 132 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Hernandez-Iturralde was sentenced to 37 months in prison and two years of supervised release.