Honduran national sentenced to more than 11 years for trafficking methamphetamine
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Today, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Oscar Orlando Navarro-Melendez, 31, a Honduran national residing in Asheville, N.C. to 135 months in prison and five years of supervised release, for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, announced Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
U.S. Attorney Murray is joined in making today’s announcement by Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which oversees the Charlotte District Office; Interim Chief Robert C. White of the Asheville Police Department; and Sheriff Quentin Miller of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office.
According to court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, in July 2017, law enforcement became aware that Oscar Orlando Navarro-Melendez and his co-defendant, Linda Liceth Prada-Ardilla, were trafficking methamphetamine in and around Buncombe County. Court records show that law enforcement recovered from an Asheville-area hotel a suitcase which belonged to Navarro-Melendez and his co-defendant. Inside the suitcase, law enforcement located methamphetamine, cocaine, drug paraphernalia, a firearm and 25 rounds of ammunition. Law enforcement also searched the hotel room shared by Navarro-Melendez and Prada-Ardilla, where they found additional quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine, a firearm and more ammunition.
Navarro-Melendez 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. Prada-Ardilla was previously sentenced to 135 months in prison.
In a separate case, Judge Reidinger sentenced Terrell Thomas, 23, of Asheville, and Angelia Neris, 28, of Fort Myers, Florida, each to 210 months and five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to documents filed in this case, from July 2017 to October 2017, Neris and Thomas trafficked large amounts of methamphetamine in and around Buncombe County. Court records show that, each week, the co-conspirators bought between half of a kilogram to a kilogram of methamphetamine from a supplier located in Atlanta. As Neris previously admitted in court, in a span of three months, the pair trafficked approximately 12 to 15 kilograms of methamphetamine. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement recovered more than 650 grams of methamphetamine, a pump shotgun, an assault rifle, and a 9mm handgun.
In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Murray thanked the DEA and the Buncombe County Anti-Crime Task Force (B-CAT) for leading these investigations.
Assistant United States Attorney John Pritchard, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, prosecuted the cases.
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.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.