Drug Enforcement Administration


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

November 16, 2018

Contact: Chuvalo Truesdell

Phone Number: (571) 362-3517

Wilmington man sentenced to 252 months in prison for drug trafficking and firearms offenses

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Special Agent in Charge for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration's Atlanta Field Division, Robert Murphy, announced that United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced Joaquin R. Ortega, 36, of Graham, N.C., to 252 months imprisonment followed by 60 months of supervised release.

Ortega was charged in a five-count indictment that was issued by the grand jury for the Eastern District of North Carolina on Jan. 12, 2017. The indictment charged him with multiple drug trafficking counts relating to the distribution of crystal methamphetamine and with firearms charges relating to drug trafficking.

In 2015 and 2016, the DEA investigated a drug trafficking organization that primarily operated in Virginia and North Carolina. The DTO was known to distribute large quantities of crystal methamphetamine through multiple distribution points in both those states. On Sept. 22, 2016 the DEA and local law enforcement ordered five pounds of crystal methamphetamine from a member of the DTO who lived in Alamance County, N.C. When the ordered methamphetamine was being delivered, law enforcement observed Ortega and four other individuals in separate vehicles meet the undercover informant in a parking lot before completing the deal. Law enforcement arrested Ortega and the other four individuals with whom Ortega was working to make the delivery.

At sentencing, the Court found that Ortega was the leader of the DTO responsible for supplying and distributing large quantities of crystal methamphetamine throughout the Southeastern United States.

This case was brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina through partnership with the DEA, the Clayton Police Department, and the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brad Knott.

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. Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.






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