AMARILLO, Texas — An admitted heroin trafficker arrested in February was sentenced Tuesday to more than five years in federal prison; his accomplice was sentenced last month to nearly four years.
These sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
On Sept. 20, Carlos Castro-Noriega, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater to 63 months in federal prison. Last month, Judge Fitzwater sentenced Cristina Melissa Gomez, 24, to 46 months in federal prison. Each pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and aiding and abetting.
According to documents filed in the case, on Feb. 9, a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety stopped a 2015 white Jeep Grand Cherokee rental vehicle, with a California registration, for speeding and driving in the left lane when not passing. Gomez was the driver and Castro-Noriega was in the front passenger seat. While speaking with Gomez, the trooper observed several indicators of criminal activity and could smell burnt marijuana coming from the front of the vehicle.
While conducting a probable cause search of the vehicle, the trooper located eight bundles of a brownish-white powdery substance inside a suitcase located in the Jeep’s rear cargo area. Subsequent testing confirmed the substance as 3,825 grams (8.4 pounds) of heroin. The trooper also located 18.2 grams of marijuana in the vehicle.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Taylor, Northern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.