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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. Mexican National Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison for Drug Trafficking Scheme Following HSI Washington, D.C. Investigation

Mexican National Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison for Drug Trafficking Scheme Following HSI Washington, D.C. Investigation

Release Date: March 12, 2024

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. resulted in a Mexican national being sentenced to three years and six months in prison for his role in an elaborate cocaine trafficking scheme.

Gerardo Ignacio Castillo-Lopez, 32, of Mexico received the 42-month federal prison sentence March 7 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria.

“Gerardo Ignacio Castillo-Lopez orchestrated a complex scheme to smuggle poison into the Washington, D.C. area,” said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “Once his criminal activity was discovered, Castillo-Lopez fled to Mexico in an attempt to circumvent justice. Thanks to the diligent work of our dedicated special agents, we were able to intercept the narcotics in transit and apprehend the intended recipient. HSI Washington, D.C. will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and dismantle narcotics networks operating in our Washington, D.C. area communities.”

According to the HSI Washington, D.C. investigation, Castillo-Lopez was residing in Tucson, Arizona, in April 2022 when he coordinated the delivery of 22 kilograms of cocaine to his co-conspirator, Dwight Garvey, in Maryland.

Castillo-Lopez picked up the cocaine from his sources, packed the drugs into hidden compartments within a 2018 Honda Pilot, and then delivered the Pilot to a vehicle transporter to take the car to Maryland.

Once in transit, New Mexico State Police stopped the vehicle transporter for a traffic infraction and noticed that the Honda Pilot had no license plate. A narcotics canine alerted to the presence of drugs in the Pilot and an inspection revealed the cocaine.

On April 25, 2022, the Homeland Security Investigations Washington D.C. High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group replaced the cocaine with “sham” packages and negotiated a delivery with Garvey.

Garvey picked up the Pilot in Manassas, Virginia, and drove it to College Park, Maryland. Agents then watched as Garvey removed several packages of sham cocaine and subsequently arrested him.

Less than 24 hours after Garvey’s arrest, Castillo-Lopez fled to Mexico, where he remained as a fugitive for over a year until his arrest in August 2023 when he attempted to cross back into the United States.

Garvey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine in June 2022. He was sentenced to five years in prison in September 2022. Castillo-Lopez pleaded guilty to the same offense in November 2023.

This investigation was conducted by HSI Washington, D.C. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Anyone with information regarding the transportation or sale of illegal weapons encouraged to call the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP (877-447-4847). The HSI Tip Line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSI_DC.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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