Law enforcement officers made an unusual discovery in a safe in one of the two houses they searched last year on a rural stretch of road in East North Carolina – a homemade pipe bomb, prosecutors said.
Now the 35-year-old man will spend almost 15 years behind bars.
Victor Gonzalez was sentenced to 14 years and eight months on charges of drugs and weapons related to a search at two addresses on Albert Grady Road in Doplin County on April 13, 2021, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of North Carolina said in a press release.
No comment was received from Gonzalez, who is behind bars after his arrest. A lawyer appointed to represent his interests did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment on February 14.
According to a criminal complaint filed the same day as the search, Duplin County Sheriff’s detectives worked with an unnamed “confidential source” to arrange a drug deal with Gonzalez.
The source was clad in wire and gave $ 2,000 to buy two bags of crystal methane, prosecutors said.
Court documents say the deal was made on April 7, 2021 at Gonzalez’s house on Albert Grady Road in Mount Olive, after which the source met with detectives to hand over drugs. Investigators later confirmed it was 60 grams of methamentamine.
The prosecutor’s office said that on April 12 in the same house operatives completed the second controlled purchase.
The next day, law enforcement officers handed over a search warrant to two addresses associated with Gonzalez. Detectives said they found a box full of scales and 146 grams of methamphetamine in a van in the front yard, loaded with AR-15 in another car parked in front, and a homemade bomb from a pipe in a safe.
Six additional bombs and two pistols were reportedly found in a search of the second home.
To neutralize the improvised explosive device, according to the release, agents of the Bureau for Combating Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were summoned.
“After the arrest, Gonzalez said he was going to find out who was” knocking “and that it would not be nice,” prosecutors said.
Investigators later found that Gonzalez had been trading in methamentamine since October 2019 and was linked to the SUR 13 gang, prosecutors said. SUR 13, also known as Sureños, is a gang that originated in Southern California and migrated through the West, South, and Northeastern United States.
Sureños was at one point the most common Hispanic gang in North Carolina with at least 1,800 members operating in 23 counties, according to a 2005 report by Hispanic and Latin American gangs at the NC Criminal Justice Analysis Center.
A grand jury indicted Gonzalez in May 2021, court documents show. In August, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to store for the purpose of distributing 50 grams or more of methamentamine, distributing 50 grams or more of metamethamine and storing a bomb.
The judge recommended Gonzalez serve his sentence at the FBI’s Butner. Immediately after sentencing, he was remanded in custody by the United States Marshal, court documents show.
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