CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A judge has sentenced a man to nine years in prison as the leader of a drug trafficking ring n Mecklenburg County.
U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced 36-year-old Juan Jose Benton to nine years (108 months) in prison to be followed by a term of supervised release for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
According to court documents and Monday’s sentencing hearing, from at least 2013 to 2018, Benton was the leader of a drug trafficking ring operating in Mecklenburg County.
Over the course drug conspiracy, officials say Benton regularly purchased multiple kilograms of cocaine, which he reportedly distributed in bulk quantities to other drug traffickers in the greater Charlotte area.
Court records show that on March 13, 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Benton’s home in Waxhaw where they seized approximately $2 million in cash from the defendant’s basement. Elsewhere in the home, law enforcement recovered two guns and cocaine.
On the same date, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Benton was driving, from which they recovered more than $76,900 in cash.
Also on that date, a second search warrant was executed at a storage unit rented by the defendant at a facility in Charlotte, in which they found more than four kilograms of cocaine, over eight pounds of marijuana and more than $315,000 in drug proceeds.
In making Monday’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer thanked the DEA, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for handling the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Bozin and Lambert Guinn, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.