A federal jury has convicted “two Mexican nationals illegally residing in Lexington” on drug-trafficking and firearms charges, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Fernando Rafael Lara Salas, 40, and Jorge Macias Pedroza, 30, were convicted after a two-day trial. They worked together as contractors on various construction projects, but investigators said in court documents that the two also distributed various drugs in Central Kentucky and elsewhere.
Lara Salas and Pedroza were each convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, including fentanyl and methamphetamine. They were also convicted of possessing a firearm while they were in the country illegally.
Lara Salas was convicted on additional charges, including unlawfully entering the country after previously being deported for a prior felony drug possession conviction, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
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When he was arrested in July, Lara Salas had about $110,000 in U.S. money seized from his residence on Dartmoor Drive.
Lara Salas and Pedroza are scheduled to be sentenced May 4 in Lexington. Lara Salas faces 25 years to life in prison while Pedroza faces 10 years to life in prison.
A third man, Nestor Barron, was at the Lara Salas residence when the July search warrant was executed, according to court records. In November he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of a mixture of substance containing cocaine.
Barron is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 23 in Lexington. He faces 10 years to life in prison.