Drug Trafficker Sentenced To 30 Years

A former Selma resident was sentenced Friday to serve 30 years in federal prison.  United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced in Federal Court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced Sandro Cuevas, Jr., 25, formerly of S. Webb Street, Selma, to 360 months in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release.

According to court documents and evidence presented to the court, Sandro Cuevas, Jr. was named in a five-count Indictment filed on May 9, 2019.  On January 14, 2020, the defendant pled guilty to conspiring with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and to various counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

Sandro Cuevas, Jr.

The investigation revealed Cuevas ran a large-scale drug trafficking organization for multiple years.  Cuevas began selling marijuana and cocaine nearly a decade ago and progressed in earnest to larger quantities and additional types of drugs.  As Cuevas progressed, he developed multiple contacts from Mexico to Atlanta, Georiga who supplied his organization cocaine and methamphetamine.

As a primary means of transportation, Cuevas paid couriers up to $1,000 per trip to travel and retrieve kilogram quantities of the various drugs.  Once the drugs arrived in North Carolina, Cuevas utilized a network of stash houses and individuals to sell the drugs into various communities.  At the investigation’s conclusion, the organization led by Cuevas was known to distribute drugs in multiple North Carolina counties, South Carolina, and as far South as Atlanta, Georgia.

Cuevas and those he worked with were known to sell the drugs quickly in an effort to reduce full criminal exposure that accompanies being caught with large quantities of drugs.  This organization carried and used multiple firearms in furtherance of their drug trafficking activities.

Leading to the arrest of Cuevas, a reliable informant provided law enforcement with corroborated information about the drug organization.  With this, multiple controlled purchases for large quantities of methamphetamine were achieved. These controlled purchases led to a search warrant in January 2019 in Selma that resulted in the seizure of extensive drug ledgers, multiple arrests, including Cuevas, the recovery of 1.5 pounds of meth, distribution materials, and a SKS rifle.

The case was investigated by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, the Duplin County Sherriff’s Office, Selma Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant United States Attorney Brad Knott prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.