Local News

Fayetteville man pleads guilty on drug charges

Posted May 1, 2008 3:37 p.m. EDT

— A Fayetteville man pled guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and a quantity of marijuana.

Rajesh Thelabhai Patel, 35, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 20.

On April 23, 2007, officers arranged for the purchase of 30 kilograms of cocaine from Patel. At the scheduled time and location, North Carolina Highway Patrol stopped Patel’s vehicle on Hwy 71 in Robeson County.

Troopers issued a warning for a traffic violation and, after receiving consent from Patel, searched the car for drugs. In the trunk of the car troopers found two nylon bags containing 23 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value of more than $2.9 million.

An ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation determined that Patel was a member of a conspiracy to distribute hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana in the Eastern District of North Carolina with sources including South Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Mexico.

Patel faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, five years supervised release and up to a $4 million fine.