Newnan resident Juan Campos-Reyes was sentenced in federal court Jan. 11 to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges relating to his part in a multi-state cocaine trafficking organization based in Mexico. A Riverdale man and another from Lawrenceville were also sentenced.
Campos-Reyes, 28, was convicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. Also convicted on similar charges were 36 year-old Lawrenceville resident Miguel Segura-Farfan and 37 year-old Riverdale resident Porfirio Ayala-Castaneda, Yates said.
“This prosecution is a prime example of the coordinated and untiring efforts of law enforcement on the state, regional and national levels to bring to justice those who profit from the scourge of illegal narcotics trafficking between Mexico and the United States. We are satisfied that these leaders of the narcotics trade will now serve lengthy sentences in federal prison,” Yates said.
Segura-Farfan was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, Campos-Reyes was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and Ayala-Castaneda was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. All three defendants will be turned over to U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement upon completion of their sentences for proceedings to remove them from the United States, according to U.S. Attorney spokesperson Patrick Crosby.
According Yates and the information in court, the defendants, all originally from Mexico, were part of a drug trafficking organization which, between late 2005 and 2008, distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and significant quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, California and in the state of Washington, Crosby said.
Segura-Farfan and Campos-Reyes acted as the organization’s Georgia “cell” heads, and Ayala-Castaneda was the group’s largest distributor in the Atlanta area. The organization used hidden compartments in automobiles to ship drug proceeds, including firearms and currency, from the Atlanta area to Mexico, Crosby said.
Segura-Farfan’s residence in Gwinnett County served as a hub for the processing, packaging and shipment of narcotics, U.S. currency, and firearms, said Crosby.
Crosby said that a confidential informant tipped investigators to the drug activity. The three men were arrested in August 2008 at Alaya-Castaneda’s residence in Riverdale at the conclusion of the investigation.
Commenting on the case Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta Field Division said the defendants received significant prison sentences because of their roles as drug traffickers clearly working under the direction of Mexican drug cartel leadership.
“The substances that they distributed clearly destroyed lives,” Benson said. “DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts are committed to making our communities safer by removing such drug traffickers from the streets.”
It has become evident in recent years that the metro Atlanta area has evolved as a primary crossroads and distribution center for illegal drug trafficking. High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Director Jack C. Killorin said the Jan. 11 convictions shows that traffickers are not always able to elude prosecution.
“There has been a good deal of reporting lately about the operations of Mexican drug syndicates in our communities. This sentencing tells the rest of the story, showing how well prosecutors and investigators are doing in identifying those responsible and holding them accountable,” Killorin said.
All three defendants pleaded guilty to their individual charges on September 30, 2009. The three men were sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Orinda D. Evans.