CHAPEL HILL — A federal court sentenced an illegal immigrant living in Chapel Hill to 10 years in prison after being caught with 7.9 kilograms of cocaine.
The subsequent investigation determined that Pedro Garcia Ruelas, 60, had been responsible for trafficking 103.9 kilograms of cocaine to dealers in Craven County, according to a Department of Justice news release.
In a separate but related case, Pinetops resident McCoy Richardson, 31, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison.
Ruelas pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on April 10. Two days later, Richardson pled to charges of conspiring to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine.
Authorities apprehended Ruelas during a controlled purchase arranged at his residence, where they found the 7.9 kilograms, or 17.4 pounds, of cocaine.
Richardson was caught in a string of three controlled purchases in which he sold a total of 5.4 grams of crack cocaine and 7.1 grams of powder cocaine. He was found to be responsible for 522.85 grams of crack cocaine and 17 grams of powder in Pitt County. His sentence was lengthened because of his status as a career offender. He has six prior convictions for selling cocaine.