A member of a Mexican drug cartel was sentenced to at least nine years in federal prison on Thursday for trafficking large amounts of crystal methamphetamine in Charlotte.
Mario Canino-Morales, 44, of Puerto Rico pleaded guilty in December to one count each of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Court records show Canino-Morales and co-defendant Fernando Morales-Matos admitted to being part of the Mexican cartel with intentions to expand methamphetamine distribution in Charlotte. The pair trafficked more than 2.5 kilograms of 96-percent pure methamphetamine in June and July 2016, prosecutors said.
Police seized methamphetamine and a loaded 9mm handgun when they arrested Canino-Morales, according to court documents.
Morales-Matos previously pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and awaits sentencing.