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Two Convicted Of Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

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LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) Two men who the U.S. Attorney's office say were illegally residing in Lexington were convicted for drug trafficking charges Wednesday.

The Department of Justice said in a press release that Fernando Rafael Lara Salas, who had previously used the alias of Jesus Ruiz Vega, age 40, and Jorge Macias Pedroza, age 30, were each convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute multiple controlled substances, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, and tramadol, as well as being an undocumented person in possession of a firearm.

In addition, they say that Lara Salas was also convicted of possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, and unlawfully entering the United States after previously being deported for a felony drug possession offense.

The investigation into the drug trafficking activities began in August 2016. Search warrants were obtained for the homes of both men and a cargo trailer used by both men. The searches resulted in authorities seizing 6 kilograms of cocaine, 4 kilograms of tramadol, residual amounts of fentanyl, more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, and two 9 mm firearms.  Lara Salas also had approximately $110,000 in U.S. currency seized from his residence.  

“The defendants in this case were dealing in massive quantities of dangerous drugs,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky.  “The number of overdose deaths in our community continues to rise, and the quantities of illegal drugs involved in this criminal conspiracy were placing many lives in danger.  Without the outstanding work of our law enforcement partners, this prosecution would not have been possible.  Their efforts removed these drugs from our streets, made our community safer, and saved lives.  Prosecuting those who deal in this scourge to our community will continue to be a core priority of our Office.” 

The sentencing hearings for both defendants are currently scheduled for May 4, 2018, at the federal courthouse in Lexington.  Lara Salas faces 25 years to life in prison and Pedroza faces 10 years to life.  The U.S. District Court will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statutes before imposing sentence.

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