A federal grand jury last week indicted five men believed to be involved in a drug trafficking organization with ties to Mexico.
The indictment charges Felipe Garcia-Rodriguez, Antonio Coronado-Bustamante, Adalid “Dino” Sanchez, Francisco Zuniga-Leija and Juan Carlos Rodgriguez-Garcia with conspiring to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana of between February 2009 and July 31, 2010.
All men are in federal custody awaiting trial. Each faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $4 million.
The indictments result from a year-and-a-half-long federal investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the 20th Judicial Drug Task Force.
In a hearing last week, a federal agent testified that Metro police detectives “stumbled” onto the federal investigation during their own undercover investigation of Zuniga-Leija on July 31. Metro detectives watched as he and Bustamante met for an alleged drug deal.
Shortly after the meeting, Zuniga-Leija was stopped on Interstate 24 with 100 pounds of marijuana, according to police, while Bustamante was followed to a residence where police said they found 20 pounds of marijuana in his car.
Following the arrests, the feds took over the case and according to its investigation, Garcia-Rodriguez organized marijuana deliveries from Mexico while Bustamante handled deliveries in the Nashville area and delivered money back to Garcia-Rodriguez.
Federal authorities also believe the organization used a mechanic shop just across the Kentucky border to install hidden compartments in vehicles used to smuggle guns and money back to Mexico.