California man sentenced in Carolinas drug crackdown

A California man was sentenced Wednesday to 2 1/2 years in prison for his role in a cocaine trafficking and money laundering operation, according to federal prosecutors.

Jesuis Ibarra-Quen, 30, was sentenced in federal court. He earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering for his participation in what federal authorities said was a 2012 bulk money pickup of $430,874 in cocaine proceeds.

Ibarra-Quen is the seventh person sentenced in a federal investigation code-named Biscoe Kidd. Prosecutors said members of the gang trafficked cocaine in Western North Carolina and sent the proceeds to Mexico.

Sentenced earlier in the case were:

• Ruben Perez-Ruiz, 32, of Greensboro; sentenced July 2 to 16 years 8 months in prison.

• Isidoro Ochoa, 33, of Jackson Springs; sentenced July 2 to 14 1/2 years in prison.

• Nancy Sanchez, 32, of Greensboro; sentenced July 2 to 2 years in prison.

• Joaquin Tostado-Barraza, 40, of Ellervee; sentenced June 25 to 10 years in prison.

• Ysrael Ayalla-Garcia, 43, of Monroe; sentenced June 5 to 2 1/2 years in prison.

• Macario Leal, 47, of Monroe; sentenced April 10 to 5 years in prison.

According to court documents and testimony at sentencing hearings, Perez-Ruiz was the local leader of the Mexican-based organization from 2011 to February 2013. Prosecutors said more than $5 million worth of cocaine was trafficked into the area during that time.

Prosecutors said the cocaine was driven to the Charlotte area hidden in car parts.