Trafficker indicted for transporting heroin inside car battery
ATLANTA - Francisco Castaneda Rivera has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly transporting 4.5 kilograms of heroin - hidden inside a car battery - from Texas to the Atlanta area.
“Drug distribution is about delivering misery to the consumer,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Atlanta Field Division. “DEA’s mission is about removing the supply before it gets to the consumer. This case was successful because of the dedicated efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office.”
“Drug trafficking organizations go to great lengths to creatively conceal and transport their poisonous merchandise across the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “Thanks to our vigilant and perceptive law enforcement agents, this large quantity of heroin was discovered and seized before it could make its way into our community.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: On Oct. 20, 2018 law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle from Texas traveling east along Interstate 20 in Douglas County, Ga. Rivera, who was previously known to law enforcement, was the owner and an occupant of the vehicle. Law enforcement searched the vehicle and observed that the battery in the truck was significantly cleaner than the rest of the engine compartment. Upon closer inspection, agents realized that the battery had been altered. They opened it and found five packages wrapped in electrical tape along with a motorcycle battery wired to provide electrical current sufficient to operate the vehicle. The substance inside the packages tested positive for heroin. Rivera was arrested and denied bond.
Rivera, 64, of Houston, Texas was charged with possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least one kilogram of heroin. He was arraigned on November 16, 2018 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the DEA, with valuable assistance provided by the Georgia State Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Garrett L. Bradford and David A. O’Neal are prosecuting 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.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.