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Contraband
11/28/2012

North Carolina man sentenced for cocaine trafficking, money laundering

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte man charged with cocaine trafficking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Following the prison term, Rodolpho Trujillo, 45, of Charlotte, will serve five years under court supervision as ordered by U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr.

Yesterday, Judge Cogburn also sentenced Trujillo's co-conspirator, Luis Fernando Gonzales, 49, of Mexico, to 87 months in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release.

In September 2011, a federal criminal indictment charged both men with cocaine trafficking conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Gonzalez was also charged with possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. According to court documents and related proceedings, in July 2011 law enforcement became aware of an intended cocaine transaction involving the shipment of 25 kilograms of cocaine to the Charlotte area. Law enforcement had identified Trujillo as the person from Charlotte involved in the anticipated cocaine shipment. Approximately 10 days later, Trujillo was found in possession of $10,000. The cash was packaged within coffee grinds to avoid detection of the smell of any narcotics that may have been left on the money, court records show. In August 2011, law enforcement purchased one kilogram of cocaine from Trujillo. According to filed court documents, after observing Gonzales leaving Trujillo's business, law enforcement searched Gonzalez's residence and seized more than $270,000. The money was packaged in airtight $30,000 bundles and tested positive for the presence of cocaine. Law enforcement also seized approximately 48 grams of crack cocaine from Gonzalez's residence.

Trujillo and Gonzalez pleaded guilty in December 2011 and have been in local federal custody since arrested by law enforcement. Upon designation of a federal facility they will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven R. Kaufman of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte.