News Release
October 27, 2006
Contact: Ruth Porter-Whipple

DEA Nashville & Chattanooga Arrest Nine
Seized 55 Kilograms of Cocaine, Guns, and Over $1.1 Million

55 Kilos concealed in a truck gas tank 55 Kilos concealed in a truck gas tank
55 Kilos concealed in a truck gas tank

OCT 27-- Nashville, TN - October 27, 2006 - 806 Old Hickory Boulevard, Brentwood, Tennessee was the site of one of the largest cocaine seizures in 2006 in the Middle District of Tennessee. On Thursday, October 26, 2006, 55 kilos of cocaine were seized, leading to the arrest of nine individuals, including the principal defendant Jesus PINEDA-CAMACHO, a/k/a Chuy who was captured in Brentwood. In addition to the nine arrests and 55 kilo seizure, agents have seized over one million dollars in United States currency and five firearms, including a loaded M-11 9mm weapon. Craig S. Morford, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, and Harry Sommers, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, announced the filing of the criminal complaints charging nine individuals with conspiring to distribute cocaine in violation of federal law.

Photo is of $613K seizure on 8-21-06
Photo is of $613K seizure on 8-21-06

On Friday, October 27, 2005, a criminal complaint was filed charging:(1) Edgar RAYO-NAVARRO, a/k/a Arturo; (2) Luis MONDRAGON-VIVIANO, a/k/a Chaparro; (3) Jorge URQUIZA-FERNANDEZ; (4) Oscar TORRES-NAVARRO, a/k/a Chaparrito; (5) Javier LUVIANO; (6) Jesus PINEDA-CAMACHO, a/k/a Chuy; (7) Luis Alonso MUNOZ-RODRIGUEZ; (8) Mario Alberto SILVA-QUINTANILLA; and (9) Francisco PINEDA-DIAZ, a/k/a PANCHO with conspiring to distribute cocaine from October 2004 through October 2006.

The nine defendants appeared before United States Magistrate Judge John Bryant on Friday evening and were ordered detained pending detention hearings scheduled later this week.

The DEA investigation began in October 2004 and targeted the large scale Pineda drug trafficking organization based in Dalton, Georgia. The investigation revealed that the organization was responsible for importing large quantities of cocaine from Mexico for distribution in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Based on a variety of investigative techniques, law enforcement agents learned that Nashville resident Edgar Rayo-Navarro and Jesus Pineda Camacho of Dalton, Georgia, were arranging for shipments of cocaine to be shipped from Mexico for distribution in the Nashville, Tennessee area.

On October 18, 2006, agents seized $498,083 in currency from a hidden compartment in a vehicle driven by a courier for the Pineda organization. The money was secreted in a hidden compartment that was accessed through the roof of the vehicle. To date, over $1,102,688.00 in cash has been seized from the organization.

On October 26, 2006, surveillance officers observed a truck driven by Mario Alberto Silva-Quintanilla arrive at a truck stop near a hotel in Nashville. The truck was followed to the residence in Brentwood, Tennessee. At the residence agents observed individuals dismantling the vehicle. Agents subsequently recovered 55 kilograms of cocaine recovered from an altered gas tank in the truck. A search of the residence revealed three loaded shotguns and semi-automatic pistols.

$489K seized on 10-18-06
$489K seized on 10-18-06

“This 55 Kilo seizure is significant not only because of its magnitude - - the second largest in the history of this District - - but also because of the disruptive impact the investigation is having on what was a major pipeline of cocaine from Mexico into our communities here in Nashville”, said U.S. Attorney Craig S. Morford.

“The dismantlement of a structured Mexican cocaine trafficking organization such as this is only possible when, as in this case, federal law enforcement partners with our local law enforcement counterparts, utilizing all of our various assets which make us capable of accomplishing this type of major seizure”, said Harry Sommers DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge.

The case was investigated by the DEA Nashville Task Force, the DEA Chattanooga Task Force, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Lebanon Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorneys Dave Rivera and Brent Hannafan handled the investigation for the United States.

The public is reminded that a complaint and warrant is a form of accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.