Eastern District of Tennessee investigation leads to the seizure of more than one ton of methamphetamine

 

Six individuals arrested in drug trafficking conspiracy

Date: March 12, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Jose Cruz Landeroz-Tovar, Mariono Gonzales, Luis Albert Cruz, Aldolfo Dominguez, Luis Fernando Pena-Fierro, and Maria Magana, all of Mexico, were arrested on March 10, 2020, in the Northern District of Georgia by agents of Homeland Security Investigations on charges involving the conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  

All six of the defendants had their initial appearance on March 10, 2020, in the United States District Court in Knoxville, Tennessee, before the Honorable Debra C. Poplin, United States Magistrate Judge.

The details of the charge, the conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, are outlined in the criminal complaint and supporting affidavit, which are attached to this press release and are filed as public records in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville. If convicted each defendant faces a mandatory term of imprisonment of 10 years with a maximum term of imprisonment of life, at least 5 years on supervised release, and a fine of up to $10,000,000.

In summary, the affidavit alleges that a drug trafficking organization coordinated the distribution of kilogram quantities of methamphetamine from the Northern District of Georgia into the Eastern District of Tennessee and other areas. During the investigation, using a variety of investigative techniques, law enforcement identified a stash location in the Northern District of Georgia. On March 9, 2020, a federal search warrant was executed at that location and approximately 864 kilograms of methamphetamine were seized. A search warrant at a separate location yielded an additional 52 kilograms of methamphetamine. In total, the seized methamphetamine has a street level value in excess of $13,000,000.

The ongoing investigation leading to this seizure and arrests was the product of a partnership between Internal Revenue Service, Knoxville; Homeland Security Investigations, Knoxville; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Homeland Security Investigations, Atlanta; Drug Enforcement Administration, Atlanta, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Department of Corrections, Gwinnett Metro Task Force, Gwinnett County, Georgia, the Georgia Highway Patrol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta, Drug Enforcement Administration, Knoxville, and the 9th Judicial Drug Task Force, Tennessee. The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia was a critical partner in this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Quencer, with the Eastern District of Tennessee, will represent the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation is a result of the Department of Justice's Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice's drug supply reduction strategy. OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation's drug supply.