Man sentenced to life in federal meth case
SALISBURY — A former Mexican drug cartel member accused of selling methamphetamine in Rowan County was sentenced to life in a federal penitentiary Wednesday.
Cesar Sierro-Pineda, also known as “El Chocado,” was sentenced in U.S. Federal Court in Statesville Wednesday afternoon.
Along with running the meth operation, authorities said the 34-year-old used a ‘superlab’ in Atlanta to manufacture more than 10 pounds of meth at a time.
Four others previously pleaded guilty to assisting Sierro-Pineda in the operation, according to court records.
Henry Clay Randleman, Hildeberto Gonzalez-Chavez, Edgar Santana and Jason Scott Holbrook are currently serving time after accepting agreements earlier this year.
In February 2011, authorities began extensive surveillance of Gonzalez-Chavez, originally from Mexico, who lived and operated out of the Rowan County area.
Federal, state and local officers followed Hildeberto Gonzalez-Chavez, known as “Beetle,” to a BP at the intersection of Shue Road and North Main Street in China Grove.
There, he met Edgar Santana, who followed Gonzalez-Chavez in a blue Ford Explorer to a home on Westhaven Way in China Grove.
Gonzalez-Chavez was stopped at Mault’s Texaco and officers found nearly two pound of crystal meth ice in the vehicle’s right rear quarter panel.
He was immediately taken into custody.
Additional units later stopped Santana, who admitted to trafficking the meth from Cesar Sierro-Pineda in Atlanta and delivering it to Gonzalez-Chavez.
Deputies found about $5,000 in cash in the Ford’s center console.
At the Westhaven Lane home, another individually identified as Nahum Gonzalez-Diaz, was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and charged with being in the country illegally.
Authorities later raided Gonzalez-Chavez’ Cypress Lane home and found documents, scales, $114 in cash and a twelve-gauge shotgun.
During a raid of Cesar Sierro-Pineda’s home in Duluth, G.A., investigators found five gallons of liquid meth, about 20 guns and two additional pounds of crystal meth ice.
Gonzalez-Chavez was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Randleman, 56, of Wilkes County, was sentenced to about 10 years in prison. Holbrook, 35, to more than six years and Santana to nearly three years.