Men plead guilty to attempting to distribute meth in Georgia

Enio Camacho-Pineda, Ricardo Santana-Hernandez face 10 years in prison

WAYCROSS, Ga. – Two men pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine from Atlanta and throughout the Southern District of Georgia, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the district.

Bobby L. Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said Enio Camacho-Pineda, 31, of Atlanta, and Ricardo Santana-Hernandez, 31, a Mexican national illegally residing in Atlanta, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

"Fighting drug traffickers is hard, dangerous work, and the law enforcement professionals in our federal, state and local agencies do a tremendous job of shutting these operations down," Christine said. "Let the drug thugs hear me: Dedicated prosecutors will bring ironclad cases so those who push poison are locked away."

A federal grand jury indicted Camacho-Pineda, Santana-Hernandez and nine other people in October with drug trafficking and firearms-related offenses for operating a drug trafficking organization that conspired to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine to Telfair, Dodge, Laurens, Bacon, Ware and Coffee counties, within the Southern District of Georgia and elsewhere, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies seized kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and a cache of firearms during the investigation as part of Operation Rat Trap. The U.S. Attorney's Office said the investigation began when agents received information Camacho-Pineda was connected to a Mexican cartel and was supplying other members of the conspiracy operating in Waycross, Georgia and elsewhere.

Camacho-Pineda traveled to Ware County in July to collect drug-sale proceeds when agents attempted to arrest him. The U.S. Attorney's Office said he fled in his vehicle for about 10 miles and traveled in excess of 130 mph, ultimately wrecking the vehicle.

Agents arrested Santana-Hernandez after he traveled from Atlanta to Dublin, Georgia to collect drug proceeds for a previous drug deal involving two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"ATF is continuing our partnership with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in our efforts to eliminate these violent armed drug-trafficking organizations," said Lenwood S. Reeves, resident agent in charge of the Savannah Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "We will continue these efforts to eliminate violence and drugs from our communities."

The charge carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and potential fines of up to $10 million each, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The defendants will be placed on at least five years of supervised release after completion of their prison sentences. There is no parole in the federal system.