Leader of mid-state drug distribution conspiracy pleads guilty

Staff Reports • May 17, 2017 at 1:50 PM

A Mexican national, who was previously deported from the United States and was considered the leader of a Middle Tennessee drug distribution conspiracy, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

Jorge Andres Lopez Montiel, also known as “Jimmy,” of Tepic Nayarit, Mexico, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, according to acting U.S. attorney Jack Smith with the Middle District of Tennessee.

According to the plea agreement, Montiel, 26, agreed to a sentence of nearly 17 and a half years in prison. He will be sentenced Sept. 25.

Montiel was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2009 after he was identified as the person in charge of heroin sales for the Nashville area for a major heroin supplier in Mexico.

Before he was taken into federal custody, Montiel was deported to Mexico where he continued to distribute heroin and later methamphetamine through a network of distributors acting at his direction who transferred the proceeds of the drug sales to Mexico, often through wire transfers. 

Montiel was taken into federal custody when he illegally re-entered the United States in late 2016.

During one phase of the investigation, between July 2013 and April 2015, the Metropolitan Nashville Police special investigation division arrested 22 people, seized 14 pounds of heroin and more than 1 pound of methamphetamine. Of those arrested, in addition to Montiel, four others were charged with federal offenses: Matthew McKervey, 28; Brian Goforth, 44; Daniel Alcala, 29; and David Becerra-Ruiz, 42, all of Nashville.

On April 1, 2015, Metro Nashville officers executed a search warrant at McKervey’s home. As officers entered the home, McKervey fired three shots at the officers, who returned fire and wounded McKervey. He was subsequently charged with federal firearms and drug offenses and currently awaits trial.

Goforth pleaded guilty and is also awaiting sentencing. The three remaining defendants are still pending before the court. They are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the DEA investigated the case. Assistant U.S. attorney Sunny A.M. Koshy serves as prosecutor. 

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