Feds Say Six Charlotte-Area Men Arrested on Drug Charges are Linked to Mexican Cartel

From The Charlotte Observer by Michael Gordon, February 18, 2019

Six alleged members of a powerful Mexican drug cartel are in federal custody, accused of trafficking large sums of drugs and money through the Charlotte area for the past six years, court documents show.

The defendants, who federal authorities say were operating under the auspices of the Jalisco New Generation/Gulf Cartel in Mexico, are accused of moving shipments of cocaine and 100 percent pure methamphetamines through Mecklenburg and Iredell counties.

Federal agents have seized $200,000, which they say were the receipts from other drug operations that the group smuggled into the area from other drug transactions, court documents say.

As part of the investigation, investigators also had targeted five homes or apartments in Charlotte and Iredell County for searches. Five vehicles and a Statesville home have or will be seized, and 10 more cars and trucks are to be searched, documents show.

The Jalisco cartel is considered by many to be Mexico’s most powerful organized crime ring, accused of shooting down an Army helicopter in 2015 that left six Mexican soldiers dead, according to Business Insider in August 2018.

That year, as the group quickly gained power, Jalisco also was linked to the ambush killing of 15 police officers near the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, the Washington Post says in a 2015 story.

The six Charlotte-area defendants, identified in court documents as Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, Raul Rangel-Gutierrez, Francisco Garcia-Martinez, Rodolfo Martinez, Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez and Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez, are each charged with drug trafficking conspiracy involving methamphetamines and cocaine. They were arrested earlier last week.

None of the defendants have legal residency in the United States, the affidavit says, and Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez has a previous conviction for illegal reentry.

According to an affidavit from Special Agent Timothy Bradley of the Homeland Security Investigations, who is assigned to Charlotte, the group has been moving drugs and money from Texas and into the Southeast since 2013 with Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez as its leader.

In an affidavit detailing the investigation, Bradley said federal authorities used wiretaps, a confidential informant and surveillance to map out “the large scope of the Rangel-Gutierrez drug trafficking organization within the United State and beyond.”

As recently as Jan. 22, the affidavit says, Oscar and Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez used another defendant’s car to transport $80,000 netted from the sale of three kilograms of cocaine from Myrtle Beach to Houston.

On Feb. 9, the group drove to Houston to pick up five kilograms of cocaine, which led to the six arrests when they returned to Charlotte two days later, the affidavit says.

Last May, according to Bradley’s affidavit, a joint investigation by various federal agencies began targeting Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez’ group as part of “Operation Lawless Town.”



Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Identifies Man Killed in Charlotte’s 18th Homicide of 2018

From WCNC, February 20, 2018

Police have identified a man shot and killed after a fight in west Charlotte early Wednesday morning, police said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department reports 52-year-old Titus Campbell was found dead in a home on Tresevant Avenue just off Freedom Drive and Tuckaseegee Road around 3:30 a.m.

During a press conference, CMPD detectives said a dispute in the house led up to the shooting. Several people who were in the house at the time were interviewed by detectives.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 10:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Recently Released Convicted Felon Charged in South Charlotte CATS Bus Attack, Attempted Kidnapping

Kelvin Jeffrey Jones is accused of attacking a young woman and threatening to stab her at a CATS bus stop in south Charlotte.
Information from WCNC by Ashley Daley, February 20, 2019

A man has been arrested in connection with the assault and attempted kidnapping of a woman at a south Charlotte CATS bus stop.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said that Kelvin Jeffrey Jones, 53, was arrested by G4S Police on an unrelated case and recognized him from photos distributed by CMPD.

Jones was transferred into the custody of CMPD and charged with first-degree kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Jones is accused of grabbing the victim from behind while she was waiting for an Uber at the CATS bus stop at I-485 and South Boulevard around 7:30 Sunday night, February 17, 2019. The woman told 911 that the suspect told her if she looked at him, he would kill her.

“I just got stabbed right here inside the I-485 station,” she told the dispatcher, who replied, “Hold on hold on hold on, you just said you got stabbed?”

The woman says she began to walk away, when the man grabbed her from behind and held a knife to her neck.

Police say the woman used a stun gun she had with her and escaped with a cut during the struggle. She is expected to be OK.

According to jail records, Jones was released from prison this past September after serving a 9-year sentence for armed robbery.

“The goal when individuals enter prison is to rehabilitate them, sometimes that doesn’t always work,” said CMPD spokesperson Brad Koch.

On Tuesday, CMPD released surveillance photos and a description of the suspect. Within hours, Jones was in CMPD’s custody.

Jones is expected in court Wednesday morning.

“We hope the full weight of the justice system will now do its work,” said CMPD Chief of Police Kerr Putney.

Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 9:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

7 Charged for Driving Dirt Bikes, ATV’s ‘Erratically’ Through Charlotte

CMPD received numerous calls from the community reporting dirt bikes and ATV’s riding on several busy streets in Charlotte on Saturday February 16.

From http://www.wcnc.com, February 17, 2018

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have four people in custody after being accused of reckless driving on dirt bikes and ATV’s throughout several streets in Charlotte.

Police said around 3 p.m. Saturday CMPD received numerous calls from the community reporting approximately 70 dirt bikes and ATV’s riding on several busy streets in Charlotte.

Callers reported the dirt bikes and ATV’s on Morehead Street, Freedom Drive, Wilkinson Boulevard, Statesville Road, Oakdale Road, streets around South Park Mall and several other streets, said officers.

Police were able to locate the dirt bikes and ATV’s near the 4600 block of Oakdale Road, where four people were arrest and three others were issued citations.

CMPD said one of the four people apprehended, Kelvin Ross, 25, was arrested because the ATV he was driving had been reported stolen out of Georgia.

After further investigation that ATV was not stolen and the charges against Ross were dropped and he was released from jail.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is continuing to investigate this incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on February 17, 2019 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Warning Parents About ’48 Hour Challenge’ that Encourages Teens to ‘Go Missing’

From Yahoo Lifestyle by Meghan Johnson, February 17, 2018

Police are telling parents to keep a watchful eye over their teens after stories of a “48-hour challenge” are popping up around the internet.

“It encourages teens to go missing for up to two days at a time and awards points for every social media mention while they’re missing,” KMOV reports.

Police say that in addition to being potentially dangerous for kids to participate in the challenge, it could also tie up authorities while there are real emergencies that need to be tended to. Anyone caught participating in the challenge could face charges, police warn.

This isn’t the first time stories of challenges like these have gone viral. After a similar alert went out to Michigan parents back in 2017, Snopes.com determined the trend was actually a hoax.

“In April 2015, the Daily Mail published a thinly sourced article titled ‘Parents left terrified by cruel new game on Facebook that sees children dare each other to vanish for 72 hours without telling relatives,’” Snopes wrote in 2017. “As with other panics of similar nature, the article breathlessly described as a ‘game’ that sounded of no real interest to teens whatsoever and included scant evidence that participants were actually undertaking the purported challenge.”

While it’s not clear where the 48-hour challenge originated, police say they are taking it seriously given the fact other challenges  like those around Tide Pods and the Netflix film Bird Box — became viral sensations.

Published in: on February 17, 2019 at 8:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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