Man sentenced in Newport News-to-California cocaine trafficking conspiracy

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A California man who participated in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy was sentenced Wednesday to 13.5 years in prison.

Hilario Rodriguez, 50, pleaded guilty on April 12.  According to court documents, Marvin O’Neal Carter, Sr., 49, of Newport News; Michael Stephen Kuna, 42, of Canada; Daniel Rodriguez, 49, and Hilario Rodriguez, both of California; were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.

Carter was also charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Daniel and Hilario Rodriguez were also charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering.

The court documents said that agents observed the arrival of a tractor trailer at a garage leased by Carter. The four men allegedly worked together to unload cocaine from hidden compartments located underneath the trailer.

Shortly thereafter, Kuna was observed loading two large duffel bags into a vehicle before leaving the area before being stopped by law enforcement agents in a traffic stop. The police located the two duffel bags because they smelled like wet currency.

According to the court documents, agents executed two federal search warrants on the garage and trailer, where they found approximately 54 kilograms of cocaine and 100 bundles of cash in $5,000 to $10,000 stacks.

The search of the garage also led to the recovery of a firearm and a quantity of heroin, in addition to approximately $42,000 in cash from a safe.