Litter-box bandit receives life sentence in meth case


By Jesse Campbell - jcampbell@s24509.p831.sites.pressdns.com



IREDELL COUNTY-A Statesville man, who once trafficked meth in Ashe County, was recently sentenced to life in a federal prison.

According to a press release from the U.S District Attorney’s office, 34-year-old Carlos Antonio Flores was one of five traffickers sentenced this month in U.S. District Court in Statesville.

Randy Lee Bivens, 35, of Hickory, N.C. was sentenced to 169 months in prison and five years of supervised release; Franklin Martinez Hernandez, 46, of Mexico was sentenced to 135 months in prison and five years of supervised release; Jerico Nathaniel Chapman, 29, of Valdese, N.C. was sentenced to 130 months in prison and five years of supervised release; and Nathan Ray Bumgarner, 55, of Connelly Springs, N.C. was sentenced to 130 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

According to filed court documents and evidence presented at trial, Flores was involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy that operated mainly in Iredell, Alexander, Caldwell, Catawba, and Ashe Counties.

According to court documents and the Sept. 6 sentencing hearings, the drug conspiracy was responsible for trafficking more than 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, with a street value of approximately $1.5 million. Flores and Hernandez had leadership roles within the drug ring. According to evidence presented at Flores’s trial, law enforcement officials seized one kilogram of 96 percent pure crystal methamphetamine, which Flores was transporting hidden in a box of cat litter.

All of the defendants were charged as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. According to court documents, since 2015, more than 170 individuals have been prosecuted as a result of the investigation. Court records show that the members of the drug trafficking organizations involved have trafficked several millions worth of methamphetamine. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, $500,000 in U.S. currency and other assets, and dozens of firearms.

Reach Jesse Campbell at (336) 846-7164.

By Jesse Campbell

jcampbell@s24509.p831.sites.pressdns.com

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