Crime & Courts

Armed drug trafficker sentenced to 14 years

An armed drug trafficker and suspected gang member was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison for supplying more than three pounds of methamphetamine from Georgia to the Carolinas, prosecutors said.

Mauricio Mario Baltazar, 21, of Lake City, Ga., established an extensive methamphetamine trafficking network from 2012 until his arrest in April 2013, U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins in Charlotte said.

On the day of his arrest, Baltazar was traveling from Georgia with about 250 grams of methamphetamine – about 1,000 dosage units – to conduct a drug transaction at a Boone hotel, according to court records. N.C. law officers seized the drugs during a traffic stop.

Officers executing a search warrant at Baltazar’s home found a 12-gauge shotgun, a rifle with scope, a ballistic vest and other weapons, court records show.

Officers also found a cell phone containing numerous photographs of Baltazar holding an assault rifle, handguns with high-capacity magazines and tactical lights, high-powered rifles and a pump action shotgun, according to court records.

Baltazar also had pictures of bulk currency fanned out with stacks of $100, $50, and $20 bills.

According to court records, inside Baltazar’s home, officers also found “Sur13” gang graffiti consistent with gang-related tattoos on Baltazar’s body. Sur 13, also known as “Sureños” or “Southside,” are loosely affiliated gangs that pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia.