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17½-year sentence imposed on leader of Mexico-based heroin ring

Staff Reports • Sep 26, 2017 at 5:27 PM

Jorge Andres Lopez Montiel, 27, of Nashville and Nayarit, Mexico, a Mexican citizen who was previously deported from the United States, was sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison for leading a heroin-trafficking conspiracy from Mexico.

“This prison sentence reflects the commitment of our prosecutors and our law enforcement partners in bringing major drug traffickers to justice,” said U.S. attorney Donald Q. Cochran. “The U.S. attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate and prosecute those whose illegal drug trafficking continues to fuel the opioid epidemic facing this nation.”

Montiel pleaded guilty in May to heroin possession with intent to distribute and conspiring to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.

According to court documents, Montiel was arrested in September 2009 and was in possession of about ½ pound of heroin, a gun and about $20,000. A federal grand jury indicted him in October 2009, but he was deported to Mexico before he could be taken into federal custody on the charges.

After Montiel was deported to Mexico, he continued to distribute heroin and later meth through a network of distributors who transferred the proceeds of the drug sales to Mexico, often through wire transfers.

Beginning in mid-2013, Metro Nashville police’s specialized investigations division used undercover officers and confidential informants to repeatedly order heroin from Montiel through calls to Mexico.

Montiel sent various co-conspirators to deliver the heroin and the transactions often happened in restrooms at retail stores.
As a result of the investigation, 22 people were arrested on local charges, and about 14 pounds of heroin and 1½ pounds of meth were seized.

On March 31, 2015, a confidential informant received about 1 pound of high-purity meth through contact with Montiel. Metro Nashville officers then got a search warrant to search the home where that transaction happened.

Officers searched the home April 1, 2015 and were met with gunfire when they entered. Matthew McKervey, 26, of Nashville was charged with firearm and drug offenses and currently awaits trial.

Montiel was arrested May 30, 2016 as he illegally re-entered the U.S. from Mexico, and eventually pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking offenses in this case.

In addition to Montiel, Matthew McKervey, 28; Brian Goforth, 44; Daniel Alcala, 29; and David Becerre-Ruiz, 42, all of Nashville, were charged with federal offenses.

Goforth’s case is pending, and Becerra-Ruiz was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison. McKervey and Alcala are pending trial on federal charges.

 

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