LAKE PLACID - An illegal immigrant who returned to Highlands County after being deported is now accused of helping a man and a woman sell thousands of pounds of methamphetamine that came from Mexican cartel drug dealers based in Atlanta, according to an affidavit released Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Jose Duarte, aka Margarito Garcia-Camacho, 227 Rachard Blvd., Lake Placid, and Ivan Cabrerra-Pineda and Brittnay Farabee, both of Charlotte County, were arrested this week and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine, according to an affidavit released by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.
The arrests came after members of a federal drug task force received information from the Hardee County Sheriff's Office that Duarte was involved in trafficking methamphetamine, the complaint said.
When agents went to Duarte's residence in Lake Placid, he admitted he had previously been deported from the United States, the affidavit said.
He was deported in 2010, but paid $2,000 to be smuggled back into the United States, Duarte told agents. He also told them he started selling methamphetamine in 2002, but stopped after eight months, the affidavit said.
However, Duarte told agents he started selling methamphetamine again and recently bought three ounces of methamphetamine from Cabrerra-Pineda. He then sold the methamphetamine for $1,200, the affidavit said.
While agents were present, Duarte ordered from Cabrerra-Pineda 5 pounds of methamphetamine for $50,000, the affidavit said.
When Cabrerra-Pineda showed up with Farabee to meet Duarte in Zolfo Springs, federal agents arrested them, the affidavit said.
"In the trunk of the vehicle, (a special agent) found a plastic container holding 2,450 grams (approximately 5.4 pounds of methamphetamine," the affidavit said.
After authorities went to Farabee's residence and found more methamphetamine, they questioned Cabrerra-Pineda, who told them that Mexican cartel members in Atlanta paid him $2,500 per week to traffic drugs.
"Cabrerra-Pineda stated that he and Duarte had worked together to traffic the methamphetamine that was delivered," the affidavit said. "Cabrerra-Pineda stated that he was paid to receive and safeguard methamphetamine shipments and deliver proceeds from the methamphetamine sales back to Atlanta," the affidavit said.
During the past two months the two men received more than 11 kilos of methamphetamine from Atlanta, Cabrerra-Pineda told agents.