Two sentenced for trafficking drugs
SALISBURY — Two men got lengthy sentences in Rowan County Superior Court this week for trafficking in drugs — one for cocaine, the other for prescription painkillers.
A Kannapolis man will spend at least 14 years in prison for trafficking cocaine.
Jose Benitez Esquibel could be behind bars for up to 18 years and must also pay a minimum $250,000 fine, the Rowan County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
Esquibel pleaded no contest to two counts of felony trafficking in cocaine, two counts of felony possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine, one count of felony conspiracy to traffic in cocaine, and one count of delivery of cocaine.
Detectives with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office investigated with cooperation from the Davie County Sheriff’s Office, the Kannapolis and Gastonia police departments and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Through a confidential informant, investigators arranged the purchase of cocaine from Esquibel on June 16, 2010. During the joint operation, detectives recovered approximately a kilo of cocaine from Esquibel’s vehicle that was compressed into a brick shape and wrapped in dark plastic. Two additional kilos of cocaine were recovered from his house.
In an unrelated case, Raymond Charles Creason was sentenced to between 18 and 23 years in prison after being convicted of two counts of trafficking 28 grams or more of opium. He was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine.
Detective J.R. Alderman of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office received information from a confidential informant in March 2011 that Creason was planning to sell more than 100 dosage units of hydrocodone. Officers set up surveillance and stopped Creason’s truck near the Salisbury Mall. They found 120 hydrocodone pills in his vehicle.
Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook said in the press release the outcome of the cases show her office’s “firm commitment to aggressively prosecuting drug dealers.” She also praised the Sheriff’s Office and assistant district attorneys Paxton Butler and Barrett Poppler “in helping to take these drug dealers off of our streets.”
“These cases should send a clear message to the drug dealers in Rowan County that our office will prosecute those who sell cocaine just as vigorously as those who illegally sell prescription drugs,” Cook said.