The last of three men with connections to a substantial Mexican drug trafficking organization was convicted for his involvement in bringing cocaine and heroin into and through Catawba County.
Juan Olmos, 56, of Claremont, was given an active prison term of three to four years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to traffic cocaine by the Honorable Gregory R. Hayes, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, on Monday, September 11, 2023.
The defendant will serve his period of incarceration in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections. He also will have to pay a mandatory fine of $50,000.
Previously, two other co-defendants were sentenced to active prison terms for their involvement in the drug trafficking operation.
Jesus Alejandro Estrada Arellano, 35, of Claremont, and Michael Wayne Proffitt, 39, of Taylorsville, were sentenced to active prison terms following their guilty pleas tied to the drug trafficking matters. The Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, imposed the prison sentences for both men.
Estrada Arellano was given an active prison sentence of 11 to 15 years following his conviction for conspiracy to traffic cocaine and conspiracy to traffic heroin on June 1, 2020. He was required to pay mandatory fines of $100,000 for the cocaine charge and $50,000 for the heroin charge.
Estrada Arellano, who also goes by the alias of Jose Luis Garcia, has a detainer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is subject to be deported to Mexico upon his release from prison.
Proffitt, 36, received an active prison term of six to eight years after his conviction for trafficking cocaine by transportation on June 2, 2020. He also was required to pay a mandatory fine of $100,000.
Both men have been serving their terms of incarceration in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
Investigation of the cases dated back to 2018 and involved the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Hickory Police Department, Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh.
With the use of a wiretap, investigators were able to intercept transmissions via text and phone between Estrada Arellano and others discussing the transport of illegal narcotics. Through those transmissions, it was determined that Estrada Arellano was coordinating the sale and delivery of heroin and cocaine in the conspiracy.
When arrested, Estrada Arellano admitted to investigators that he was involved in the coordination of the sale and pickup of the drugs.
Through the wiretap, investigators learned that Proffitt transported the cocaine shipments coming into Catawba County for Estrada Arellano. He picked up drugs or money and moved them to various locations, often taking them to other parts of North Carolina or other states.
Proffitt was arrested by investigators after agreeing to pick up and drive a vehicle for Arellano. Officers conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle driven by Proffitt and found 18 kilograms of cocaine in it. Proffitt admitted that he worked for Estrada Arellano, picking up and dropping off vehicles at various locations.
Using the wiretap, investigators were able to determine that Olmos was involved by picking up cars and transporting them to make drug sales and/or collect cash. He also admitted in an interview with investigators that he sold cocaine to an undercover officer on two occasions.
Jessica Phillips prosecuted the cases for the District Attorney’s Office with assistance from Legal Assistant Dea Crowe.