Jackson, TN – Saul Vega Flores, 51, has been sentenced to 100 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute over 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. Acting U.S. Attorney, Joseph C. Murphy Jr., announced the sentence today.
According to information presented in court, in March 2017, DEA agents in the Nashville, TN office began an investigation into Rolando Lopez and his drug trafficking organization. Agents discovered Lopez and other co-conspirators were trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and other illegal substances from Texas to Tennessee. Investigators utilized several Title III wiretaps along with physical surveillance, confidential sources, traffic stops, and search warrants to investigate this organization, which was responsible for trafficking hundreds of pounds of actual methamphetamine/ICE. Saul Flores was found to have taken part in this conspiracy.
In early November 2017, investigators discovered through wiretap interceptions of Lopez’s phone calls that he and Flores were meeting with individuals involved in the drug trafficking organization to pass out telephones. On November 13, 2017, Lopez and Flores met with Kenneth Garrett who transported Flores to Ronald Parham’s residence in Martin, Tennessee where Flores cooked methamphetamine/ICE.
On December 1, 2017, DEA agents developed information that Lopez was arranging a shipment of a significant amount of methamphetamine from Mexico to Tennessee. The shipment was to be picked up in Mexico by Virginia Torres and delivered to Parham’s residence in Martin. This address was being used to convert liquid and powder methamphetamine into crystal methamphetamine.
On December 3, 2017, DEA agents set up surveillance at Parham’s residence. Investigators also followed Garrett and Flores from Nashville to Martin and Union City, TN. Through wiretap interceptions of phone calls between Lopez, Garrett, Flores, and Torres, investigators tracked Torres from Mexico to a Days Inn in West Memphis, Arkansas. Investigators observed Garrett and Flores meet with Torres who was driving a 2004 Lincoln Navigator. All three suspects left the Days Inn and headed toward Martin, Tennessee along Highway 51. DEA agents and members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol conducted a traffic stop on the vehicles on Highway 51 in Obion County.
On December 5, 2017, investigators searched the Lincoln Navigator and discovered a large quantity of methamphetamine/ICE in a hidden lead compartment in the tires and wrapped around the wheels. A DEA forensic laboratory examination revealed that Torres was carrying 44.85 kilograms of 98% pure ICE. Investigators confirmed that Parham’s garage was being used to store and convert methamphetamine, and that either Flores or Parham would convert the powder or liquid methamphetamine to crystal methamphetamine.
Investigators also learned from cooperating witnesses that Flores is an “expert” at converting methamphetamine and that Lopez arranged for him to be transported from Mexico to Tennessee to convert methamphetamine into crystal form for distribution.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated this case.
On April 2, 2021, Chief U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson sentenced Flores to 100 months in federal prison to be followed by three years supervised release. The co-defendants in this case received the following sentences: Kenneth Garnett was sentenced to 200 months; Ronald Parham was sentenced 120 months; Virginia Torres was sentenced to 60 months and Ronald Lopez was sentenced to life imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Josh Morrow and Jerry Kitchen prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.