North Carolina

Drug kingpin sentenced in Charlotte. Cocaine flowed from Texas to rural North Carolina

The kingpin of a cocaine ring that operated from Texas to rural North Carolina was sentenced in federal court in Charlotte on Thursday to 10 years in prison.

Ring leader David Flores, 36, is a Mexican national living in Dallas, Texas, according to a news release by the office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray. He was in the Mecklenburg County jail Thursday night pending his transfer to a federal prison.

Federal agents unraveled the ring in October 2017 when Drug Enforcement agents seized 23 kilograms of cocaine near Nashville, Tenn., from a car headed to North Carolina, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.

According to court documents, Flores contracted with the driver and a passenger to deliver the drug from Texas to members of the ring in Lincolnton. Two other ring members distributed the cocaine from a home in the Catawba County town of Maiden, prosecutors said in Thursday’s release.

Flores pleaded guilty in 2018 to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Three of his co-conspirators were previously sentenced: Saul Martinez-Ochoa, 10 years; Alexander Garoutte, six years and eight months; and Ruben Silva-Malicote, three years and 10 months, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office release.