A Statesville man caught with 10,000 doses of crystal meth in a cat litter box received two life sentences on Tuesday for trafficking the drug as part of a nine-county drug distribution ring.
Carlos Antonio Flores, 34, was found guilty by a federal grand jury in Statesville in March of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Judge Richard Voorhees sentenced Flores on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Statesville. Voorhees said while Flores has family to support, he had to also consider “the damage to our civilization” done by Flores.
Voorhees also ordered that Flores be handed over to federal immigration officials for possible deportation if he’s ever released from prison.
Flores’ lawyer argued that Flores was not the kingpin of the ring. The kingpin and others in the conspiracy received far lighter sentences, he said.
The ring operated from April to October 2015, mainly in Iredell, Alexander, Caldwell, Catawba and Ashe counties, U.S. Attorney Jill Rose has said.
Flores and other ring members distributed at least 15 kilograms of meth, with a total street value of $1.5 million, prosecutors said.
Flores was arrested on Oct. 30, 2015, while distributing more than a kilogram of 96-percent pure crystal “ice” meth concealed in a cat litter box, court records show.