Saluda man sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking
Published 10:23 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2016
A Saluda man was one of four recently sentenced to federal prison for his involvement in a methamphetamine ring operation in Henderson County, according to U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Jill Westmoreland Rose.
Eric Lee Garber, 41, of Saluda was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison along with four years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Others sentenced by U.S. District Judge Max O. Coburn Jr. in Asheville on Tuesday, March 8 included Nahuan Solano, 27 of Hendersonville, who was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release; Benjamin Nelson, 31, of Hendersonville, who was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release and Allan Collado-Raudez, 23, of Asheville, who was sentenced to 39 months federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.
All four men pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
From around May 2014 to May 2015, the men were involved in a drug trafficking conspiracy responsible for distributing significant quantities of methamphetamine in Henderson County and surrounding areas, according to court documents.
Maria Del Ruiz-Zazueta was the leader of the drug ring and was assisted by her daughter, Stephanie Alvarenga, in supplying the methamphetamine to their co-conspirators, according to court records. Solano was a methamphetamine trafficker and acted as a runner for Ruiz-Zazueta and Alvarenga, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office with the ring’s customers including traffickers Garber and Nelson.
In May 2015, Oklahoma law enforcement stopped a vehicle in which Alvarenga was a passenger. Alvarenga was heading from California to North Carolina to meet Alvarenga’s mother, according to court records. During the stop, law enforcement seized nearly 10 pounds of methamphetamine located in the trunk of the car.
Maria Del Ruiz-Zazueta, Stephanie Alvarenga, Daniel Alfaro and Anotonio Barbosa have also pleaded guilty in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing, according to the federal release. Two others, Wade Henderson and Edwardo Lopez, have also been charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The four North Carolina men sentenced this week are in federal custody waiting to be transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by the DEA and Henderson County Sheriff’s Office with U.S. Attorney Thomas Kent of the Asheville office in charge of the prosecution.