CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Four drug traffickers pled guilty recently to conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine throughout the Charlottesville area.
Santo Hidalgo Siguenza, a.k.a. “Chila,” 40, from El Salvador, Francisco Rocha Uribe, 31, from Mexico, Rafael Vasquez Navarette, 26, from El Salvador, and Luis Guillermo Melendez-Henrique, 31, from El Salvador, all pled guilty to their roles in a drug conspiracy to possess and distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. In addition to the drug charge, Siguenza also pled guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
On September 19, 2020, members of the Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force (JADE) executed a search warrant at a residence on Chapel Hill Road in Charlottesville and encountered Siguenza in the middle of a drug deal along with a .38 caliber revolver, over a kilogram of virtually pure methamphetamine, and $6,000 in cash. Lab analysis of the methamphetamine found it to be over 98% in purity. While law enforcement was searching the residence, Melendez-Henrique and Navarette arrived in a vehicle which was then searched and found to contain additional methamphetamine. Melendez-Henrique admitted to police that he had picked up a kilogram of methamphetamine from their source in Atlanta, Georgia and brought it back to the Chapel Hill Road residence for redistribution.
At sentencing, Siguenza, Uribe, and Melendez-Henrique face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to a maximum of life in prison for the drug charges, including a maximum fine of up to $10,000,000, while co-conspirator Navarette faces up to 20 years in prison and up to a $1,000,000 fine.
United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh made the announcement.
The Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Albemarle County Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Waynesboro Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Virginia State Police, and the Skyline Drug Trask Force investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ronald M. Huber and Heather L. Carlton are prosecuting the case.