CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. sentenced today Juan Jose Benton, 46, of Charlotte, N.C. to 108 months in prison to be followed by a term of supervised release for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced William T. Stetzer, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office, and Johnny Jennings, Chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, join U.S. Attorney Stetzer in making today’s announcement.
According to court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, from at least 2013 to 2018, Benton was the leader of a drug trafficking ring operating in Mecklenburg County. Over the course drug conspiracy, Benton regularly purchased multiple kilograms of cocaine, which he distributed in bulk quantities to other drug traffickers in the greater Charlotte area. Court records show that on March 13, 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Benton’s residence in Waxhaw, N.C., where they seized approximately $2 million in cash from the defendant’s basement. Elsewhere in the residence, law enforcement recovered two firearms and more cocaine. On the same date, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle Benton was driving, from which they recovered more than $76,900 in cash. Also on that date, a second search warrant was executed at a storage unit rented by the defendant at a facility in Charlotte, in which they found more than four kilograms of cocaine, over eight pounds of marijuana, and more than $315,000 in drug proceeds.
In making today’s announcement, Acting U.S. Attorney Stetzer thanked the DEA, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for handling the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Bozin and Lambert Guinn, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, prosecuted the case.