Defendant with Ties to Mexican Cartel Sentenced to 18 Years for Drug Conspiracy
SAVANNAH, GA—Eric Arrana-Garcia, 39, a citizen of Mexico who previously lived in Blackshear, Georgia, was sentenced last week by United States District Judge William T. Moore, Jr. to 18 years in prison for his role in a meth conspiracy operating in southeast Georgia and elsewhere. Arrana-Garcia is the last defendant to be sentenced as part of “Operation Ice Breaker,” a joint federal and state investigation which targeted a drug trafficking ring with ties to a Mexican drug cartel.
According to evidence presented in court hearings and in court documents, Arrana-Garcia received large quantities of crystalized methamphetamine (also known as “Ice”) from Mexican sources in California, which he transported for distribution throughout southeast Georgia. In addition, Arrana-Garcia had an arsenal of firearms, many of which he used during various drug transactions, sold, or traded for Ice. Arrana-Garcia was identified by coconspirators as a Mexican drug cartel member who could “make undesirables disappear.”
As part of Operation Ice Breaker, large quantities of Ice and multiple firearms were seized. In addition, 6 other defendants were convicted and received lengthy sentences:
- Jorge Ramos, 42, a citizen of Mexico previously living in Savannah, was sentenced to 163 months in prison;
- Mary Riggins, 48, from Blackshear, Georgia, was sentenced to 156 months in prison;
- Vernon Dowlings, 30, from Blackshear, Georgia, was sentenced to 128 months in prison;
- Jacob Lattanzie, 28, from Blackshear, Georgia, was sentenced to 87 months in prison;
- James Yarbrough, 36, from Blackshear, Georgia, was sentenced to 74 months in prison; and,
- Joshua King, 29, from Blackshear, Georgia, was sentenced to 135 months in prison.
Operation Ice Breaker was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), ATF, FBI, the Chatham County Counter Narcotics Team (CNT), the Glynn Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team (GBNET), the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, and the Blackshear Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys E. Gregory Gilluly, Jr. and Tania D. Groover prosecuted the cases on behalf of the United States. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.