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Narcotics
05/07/2012

Mexican man sentenced to 20 years in cocaine trafficking case

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Mexican man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for trafficking cocaine, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).

Herculano Albarran-Martinez, 43, also known as "El Nene," was indicted in February 2010 for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine. Albarran-Martinez pleaded guilty in October 2010 to conspiracy with intent to distribute 15-50 kilograms of cocaine, and was sentenced to 240 months of imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release.

According to filed documents and statements made in court, Albarran-Martinez and his co-conspirators engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy in the Statesville area. Case evidence included telephone calls among the co-conspirators planning and executing dozens of cocaine transactions, many of which were made to undercover law enforcement officers. In addition, in August 2009, while law enforcement officers executed a search warrant, they seized more than 11 kilograms of cocaine and firearms, including a MAC-10, from a stash house in High Point, N.C.

The indictment charged five additional defendants with the same drug trafficking charge. All five defendants pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced as follows:

Juan Aguirre Solis, 52, of Mexico, was sentenced in December 2011 to 151 months of imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Jovo Vargas Nunez, 23, of Mexico, was sentenced in January 2012 to 132 months of imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Jilberto Bautista Villegas, also known as "Laurentoni Baza Martinez," 32, of Mexico, was sentenced in October 2011 to 120 months of imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Isidro Jesus Soto Santander, 25, of Mexico, was sentenced in December 2011 to 70 months of imprisonment to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Cirilio Humberto Ortega Jiminez, also known as "Jose Miguel Cintron," 25, of Statesville, was sentenced in April 2011 to 60 months of imprisonment to be followed by four years of supervised release.

All defendants are in federal custody. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The investigation was spearheaded by HSI and SBI, with the assistance of the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, the Statesville Police Department, the Davie County Sheriff's Office and the High Point Police Department. The prosecution was handled for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte.