Local News

Task force takes down cocaine cartel in Newton Grove

Posted February 11, 2010

— U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding announced Thursday the conclusion of an investigation in Wayne and Sampson counties that resulted in the convictions of 26 people believed to have been members of a Mexican drug cartel operating in eastern North Carolina.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force’s Operation Northern Star targeted the Julian Avilez drug trafficking organization, which Holding said operated out of a Newton Grove convenience store.

Avilez used the store as his base of operations to import up to 30 kilograms of cocaine per month from Mexico, to distribute it throughout the southeastern United States and to launder money from the sales, Holding said.

The 26 defendants were charged with crimes including conspiracy to distribute cocaine, cocaine base (crack), marijuana, and methamphetamine; distribution of cocaine, cocaine base (crack), marijuana, and methamphetamine; domestic and international money laundering; and illegal possession of firearms.

The ringleader, Avilez, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. All but two of those convicted have been sentenced, Holding said, to terms ranging from 60 to 292 months.

The task force seized 14 firearms, 11 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of crack cocaine and more than $1 million in cash during the course of the three-year investigation, he said.


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  • ewmuse Feb 12, 2010

    Great job to those involved. To those of you wondering why it's just now in the news: If it is a case that goes to federal court, they keep it to themselves until the folks are sentenced. Also, any of these guys that were illegals will be deported after their sentence is up. However, I know of one who was deported and within a month he was back in my county and back in business. Bottom line: Good job to the officers involved, good job to the US Attorney's office. I'm glad to see the continued success of the partnership between local agencies and the US Attorney's office.

  • 6079 SMITH W Feb 11, 2010

    ......Enterprising, Family-oriented, Strong work ethic, Easy fronts for organized crime,....oops! how did that one slip in there.......................................................

  • airbornemonty Feb 11, 2010

    You're right, the supply and demand will always be there.

    My original post was flawed and confusing, I started changing words around and didn't bother to proof read it, sorry!

  • zamboniman Feb 11, 2010



  • whatelseisnew Feb 11, 2010

    "These people are citizens of the USA."

    Uh huh yeah the entire world population are citizens. We need to bring them all home. Start sending them tickets out of your wallet.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 11, 2010

    Aren't open borders a wonderful thing? I wonder how many people these folks killed? But hey they are just here to get a better life.

  • grgrowen Feb 11, 2010

    rick_slick you are absolutly right. It was probably a right wing conspiesy to trick these normally law abiding "citizens??" into the narcotic trade. Now the Liberal court system will give them a playful slap on the wrist and a knowing wink(fifteen years for the ringleader) and have faithfull followers for life. Assuming of course the can also forge their voter credentials.

  • noreplytome2 Feb 11, 2010

    Butbutbut, they were doing the work the rest of us won't or wouldn't do! LOL

  • R_U_Nuts Feb 11, 2010

    Ah, another chapter concluded in the cops vs. robbers. At a net of over $1,000,000 cash seized results in about $30,000 per month for the duration of this investigation.

    Anybody care to take a guess how much it cost to run this? I gotta guess it would be a staggering amount more. To those that say these thugs need to be in a cage, I could not agree more.

    The point is that until prohibition is ever changed and the government regulates these substances, the only thing that will not ever change is business for the Cartels and job security for drug cops and all that follows with it.
    These organizations are deeply entwined in all of our communities and are not going away any time soon.

    We desperately need to change our laws and take more control of the future of this country. We are jailed, families broken up, addicts needing help, experiencing emotional trauma, shame of incarceration, etc etc.

    Good job boys. The "hard" drug dealers need to go.

  • My opinion not yours Feb 11, 2010

    These people are citizens of the USA.

    NOT! Yeah sure, thats why there are being deported!!!