Heroin Trafficker Sentenced For Transporting
ATLANTA - Francisco Castaneda Rivera has been sentenced to federal prison for transporting 4.24 kilograms of heroin, hidden inside a car battery, from Texas to the Atlanta-area.
Robert J. Murphy, special agent in charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division said, “Drug traffickers like Castaneda Rivera often take extreme measures in order to hide the poison they peddle, as was the case in this investigation. This is a perfect illustration of the battle DEA, its law enforcement counterparts and the U.S. Attorney’s Office face when trying to prevent dangerous drugs from hitting the streets of our communities. As a result of DEA’s unwavering commitment and through the strength of its partnerships, Castaneda Rivera will spend well-deserved time in prison.”
“Drug traffickers employ sophisticated and ever-changing tactics to bring their deadly product into our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “However, our law enforcement partners are able to adapt to their methods and combat this scourge. Through the hard work of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we were able to stop these drugs from hitting our streets.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court in March and April 2018, DEA agents were able to glean intelligence about a suspected drug trafficker who would be involved with the delivery of narcotics in the Union City, Ga.-area.
On Sept. 1, 2018, law enforcement officers in Montgomery, Ala. conducted a traffic stop on Riviera and intelligence gathered from the stop linked him to a DEA investigation.
Later that year on Oct. 19 and 20 through various methods of intelligence, DEA agents learned Rivera was traveling via I-20 eastbound from Houston to Atlanta. Georgia State Patrol conducted a traffic stop and while searching the vehicle, observed that the battery in the truck was significantly cleaner than the rest of the engine compartment. Upon closer inspection, agents realized the battery had been altered and found five packages wrapped in electrical tape along with a motorcycle battery wired to provide electrical current sufficient to operate the vehicle. The packages were determined to contain 4.24 kilograms of heroin.
Rivera, 65, of Houston, was sentenced to 10 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Rivera was convicted on these charges May 15, 2019, after he pleaded guilty.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys David A. O'Neal and Garrett L. Bradford 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.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov . Also follow DEA Atlanta via Twitter at @DEAATLANTADiv.