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Methamphetamine Trafficker Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison
The defendant shipped drugs from California to Charlotte hidden inside shipping pallets

JUN 28 (CHARLOTTE, N.C.) – Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney sentenced late yesterday Alberto Diaz-Fernandez, 55, of Santa Ana, California, to 121 months in prison and four years of supervised release on drug conspiracy charges, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Daniel R. Salter, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office and Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department join U.S. Attorney Rose in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, on or about February 3, 2016, DEA agents of the Charlotte District Office Enforcement Group received information that a shipping pallet which had originated in Santa Ana and was carrying a Nissan V-6 engine, also contained methamphetamine and was destined for delivery to an automotive shop in the Charlotte area. According to court records, law enforcement located the shipment and executed a search warrant, seizing approximately five kilograms of methamphetamine hidden within an aftermarket compartment in the shipping pallet. On February 4, 2016, the day the shipment was scheduled for delivery, law enforcement approached Diaz-Fernandez who was waiting in front of the automotive shop. Diaz-Fernandez told law enforcement that he was expecting an engine he had shipped from California to be delivered on that date. Diaz-Fernandez later admitted to shipping the hidden drugs “for dangerous people in Mexico.”

In March 2016, Diaz-Fernandez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Judge Whitney ordered Diaz-Fernandez be deported to Mexico.

The  DEA and the CMPD handled the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.
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