Crime & Courts

Huntersville man sentenced to 11 years for leading drug trafficking ring

A Huntersville man described by prosecutors as the leader of a drug trafficking ring was sentenced this week to 11 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors said Laurentino Benitez, 45, led a ring that trafficked large amounts of cocaine, heroin and marijuana to the Charlotte area.

Court records show the drugs were sent from Texas and Mexico by other members of the conspiracy, usually concealed in vehicles or electronic goods.

According to court records, police seized multiple firearms from Benitez, including a shotgun, six pistols and ammunition, and about $866,820 in illegal drug proceeds .

Benitez pleaded guilty in October 2015 to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. He has been in federal custody since April 2015.

Five other men also have pleaded guilty in the case.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak