Drug Enforcement Administration


Robert J. Murphy, Jr., Special Agent in Charge

January 22, 2016

Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell

Phone Number: (571) 362-3517

Mexican Cartel Member Sentenced To Prison For Conspiracy Involving Over 400 Kilograms Of Methamphetamine

ATLANTA - Israel Garcia-Villanueva has been sentenced to over 17 years in prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to traffic over 400 kilograms of methamphetamine.  He received shipments of methamphetamine and coordinated its delivery in Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout the Southeast. 

Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said of the sentencing, “Mexican drug cartels are the source of so many dangerous drugs destined for our country and are responsible for much of the violence in Mexico today. This sentencing illustrates how DEA and its law enforcement counterparts will not allow these drug traffickers to wreak havoc on our society.” 

“The Mexican cartel that employed Garcia-Villanueva shipped massive amounts of methamphetamine into the Atlanta area from the Mexican border,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “Garcia-Villanueva was this cartel’s point of contact, coordinating drug shipments for distribution in this country.  We are committed to disrupting these sophisticated drug organizations by seizing their shipments of narcotics and getting their members off the streets.”   

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: From at least April 2014 through the November 2014, Israel Garcia-Villanueva coordinated large shipments of methamphetamine into the Atlanta metro-area on behalf of a group affiliated with the Knights Templar drug cartel in Mexico.  His co-conspirators sent methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States in a variety of ways, including hiding it in cars with sophisticated, hidden electronic traps, car batteries, diesel fuel tanks, and even statue molds.  Garcia-Villanueva also coordinated delivery of the methamphetamine throughout the Southeast. 

As part of his drug trafficking operations, Garcia-Villanueva used multiple residential homes as methamphetamine “stash houses,” including one house in the Lawrenceville, Georgia area.   The houses were used to safeguard methamphetamine shipments, process the drugs for redistribution, and store drug proceeds.  Garcia Villanueva was also tasked with sending drug proceeds back to Mexico and did so by sending cash with people who drove it over the U.S.-Mexico border and by wiring money to a number of individuals in Mexico.  Although Garcia-Villanueva executed orders given by members of his organization in Mexico, he supervised and managed a crew in the United States that assisted him with his methamphetamine distribution operations.

Israel Garcia-Villanueva, 22, of Guerrero, Mexico, has been sentenced to 17 years, six months in prison to be followed by five years supervised release.  Garcia-Villanueva was convicted on these charges on June 8, 2015, after he pleaded guilty.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kamal Ghali 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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