Multi-year investigation ends in sentence of drug cartel members
By John Joyce
Published in News on July 13, 2012 1:46 PM
GREENVILLE -- A 10-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation has resulted in the arrests of two men connected with a Mexican drug cartel that was operating, in part, in eastern North Carolina.
Both men have been sentenced to federal prison terms of more than 20 years, according to a press release from Thomas G. Walker, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Walker said the effort was made possible by federal, state, inter-state and local law enforcement, including the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, which participated in the investigation.
Jorge Louis Acosta-Muro, 38, of Pamlico County, and Renato Torres-Eguino, 39, of Arizona, were convicted of drug trafficking and other crimes.
Lawmen seized as much as 127 kilograms of cocaine, 160 pounds of marijuana, 41 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, $1.5 million in U.S. currency and $1.5 million in properties during the operation.
Local law enforcement played an integral role in the execution of the offensive, which was dubbed Operation No Quarter.
Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said he could not go into detail about his department's involvement, but lauded those who worked together to get the offenders off the street.
"The unique part is the federal, state and local offices carrying one message," Winders said. "The public always wants to know what is being done to stop drugs from coming in. This is how you stop it, with a 10-year operation like this."
The successful operation was specifically designed to disrupt the activities of Mexican drug trafficking operations. Those named in the report -- gangs such as Los Zetas, La Familia, and the Gulf and Sinaloa drug cartels -- were bringing the drugs in from Mexico, through Arizona and across to the East Coast. The roots of the operation began as far back as 1998.
In addition to Operation No Quarter, the DEA, ATF, U.S. marshals and local law enforcement were involved in joint operations that led to the arrest of more than 20 men in Lenoir and Wayne counties, in an attempt to reduce violent crime and drug trafficking in the Kinston area.
Charges against those arrested in the joint operation include drug trafficking, conspiracy, weapons charges, and many others -- those charged were allegedly engaged in the conspiracy to distribute these drugs, and were in possession of, or caught in the act of distributing, cocaine, crack, marijuana, firearms and ammunition.
Many have already pleaded guilty to various charges and been sentenced.