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Cartel 'Ringleader' Brought Fentanyl Into NC and VA

NEWPORT NEWS, VA – On Monday, Ramiro Ramirez-Barreto, 44, was sentenced in federal court to 33 years in prison, after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.

The Mexican national who worked for the Sinaloa Cartel, was the leader of an extensive drug distribution network that supplied fentanyl, heroin and cocaine “to numerous drug trafficking organizations in Newport News, Virginia, and in Henderson and Greensboro, North Carolina,” according to the Department of Justice.

In 2019, Ramirez-Barreto was one of 45 drug traffickers arrested as a result of “Operation Cookout.”

All 45 suspects have since pleaded guilty and only a few are still awaiting sentencing.

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District Of Virginia stated:

In August 2019, over 120 law enforcement officers from 30 law enforcement agencies in Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas executed a major operation, known as Operation Cookout, which resulted in 35 defendants being arrested for their respective roles in the conspiracy, along with the seizure of 24 firearms, 30 kilograms of fentanyl, 30 kilograms of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine, and over $700,000 in cash.

In addition to his prison sentence, Ramirez-Barreto was ordered to forfeit money $4,200,000 and his house in Lawrenceville, Virginia.

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