6 in country illegally, tied to drug cartel, arrested during drug investigation

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — A massive drug operation with ties to a Mexican drug cartel resulted in the arrest of six immigrants in the country illegally.

Six men are behind bars, accused of running an elaborate drug trafficking operation in Mecklenburg and Iredell counties.

[LINK: Federal court documents]

The man the suspects are tied to is the main rival of El Chapo's drug cartel.

The operation was working under the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

The human rights group Justice in Mexico reported last year that the Jalisco New Generation Cartel started gaining power after El Chapo's arrest.

[Where will El Chapo serve time? A ‘supermax’ prison in Colorado could be the spot]

Federal officials said more than 1,800 grams of meth were delivered from a luxury home in Statesville in August and October of 2018.

The person who lived there, Oscar Rangel-Guiterrez, is an alleged high-level cartel member.

Rangel-Guiterrez’s parents lived in a large home in Troutman, according to the indictment.

Agents said a credible informant told the Troutman Police Department in 2014 that large amounts of cocaine were being stored at the address.

Court documents indicated that Rangel-Guiterrez and the five other suspects were in the country illegally.

Agents said Rangel-Guiterrez transported 30 kilograms of cocaine and an unspecified large quantity of methamphetamine in a one-month period from Texas to Georgia and North Carolina.

An apartment in Hidden Valley, a home in Derita and another home in east Charlotte are tied to the investigation, according to court documents.

Misty Joyner lives near the home in east Charlotte where agents said Rangel-Gutierrez stored drug proceeds while he and another suspect went to a nightclub.

She can't believe her neighbors are potentially involved

“Just devastating,” Joyner said. “They were good people.”

Four of the suspects were in federal court uptown Thursday.

They waived their preliminary hearings. Two other suspects were arrested in Florence, South Carolina and Cleveland, Ohio.

El Chapo was convicted on drug crimes earlier this week and will spend the rest of his life in maximum security prison. His cartel was once the biggest supplier of drugs to the U.S.


  • Rodolfo Martinez
  • Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez
  • Raul Rangel- Gutierrez
  • Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez
  • Francisco Garcia-Martinez
  • Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez
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