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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Arizona

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Michael Bailey
, United States Attorney
Contact: Glenn McCormick

Violent Leader of Marijuana Trafficking Organization Sentenced to Prison

TUCSON, Ariz. --On June 3, 2019, Carlos Correa, 29, of Hereford, AZ was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins to 25 years in prison. Correa previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute more than 1,000 Kilograms of Marijuana and received sentencing enhancements for murdering a co-conspirator and for his leadership role in a marijuana trafficking organization. Correa is the last of eight federal defendants to be sentenced in this multi-agency investigation into a large marijuana smuggling enterprise.
 
The investigation into Correa’s drug smuggling enterprise began on June 18, 2015, after a traffic stop of a vehicle loaded with marijuana that had attempted to circumvent the Willcox Border Patrol checkpoint. A cell phone containing photographs and texts depicting and identifying firearms with obliterated serial numbers, illegal narcotics packaged for distribution, and large sums of U.S. currency was seized from the vehicle and determined to belong to Correa.
 
Over the next eight months, ATF, Border Patrol, and numerous southern Arizona law enforcement agencies worked together to investigate the drug smuggling enterprise led by Correa and the murder victim. The investigation resulted in the arrest of more than 20 co-conspirators for related offenses. Prosecutions were completed by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Cochise County Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office. Participating agencies seized over 4,000 pounds of marijuana and several firearms, including an AR-15 and an AK-47 with obliterated serial numbers.
 
On February 26, 2016, Correa murdered the victim and co-conspirator during a dispute involving marijuana load payments. Correa pled guilty to second-degree murder in Cochise County case number CR201600301, and was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment by Cochise County Superior Court Judge James Conlogue in that case.
 
The investigation in this case was conducted by ATF and U.S. Border Patrol in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Sierra Vista Police Department. The federal prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam D. Rossi and Rui Wang, District of Arizona, Tucson.
 
CASE NUMBER: CR-14-0103-TUC-RCC
RELEASE NUMBER: 2019-070_Correa
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Phoenix Field Division