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November 14, 2023Newport News, VA, United StatesNarcotics

HSI Norfolk investigation leads to guilty plea for North Carolina man who attempted to purchase over 50 kilograms of cocaine

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — An investigation conducted by Homeland security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Division led to a North Carolina man pleading guilty to attempted possession of more than 50 kilograms of cocaine Oct. 16.

“Jose Arellano-Rodriguez attempted to purchase an absurd amount of cocaine,” said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “That amount of any drug could potentially poison an immeasurable number of Virginians. HSI Washington, D.C. simply cannot sit idly by while such criminals attempt to harm the residents of the communities we have sworn to protect. We will continue to identify, disrupt, and dismantle these transnational criminal organizations.”

According to the investigation, authorities arrested Jose Arellano-Rodriguez, 26, of Durham, North Carolina, Aug. 2 at a rest stop in New Kent County after he attempted to pay $90,000 for what he believed was a load of more than 50 kilograms of cocaine.

The investigation revealed that the drugs had been intercepted one week earlier from a vehicle believed to have crossed the Mexican border into the United States.

Arellano-Rodriguez gave the money to law enforcement officials, who arrested him and discovered a firearm in his possession.

Arellano-Rodriguez pleaded guilty to attempted possession of more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 20, 2024. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.

This investigation was conducted by HSI Norfolk and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Washington Division with significant assistance from the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.