A Lawrenceville man who was recently convicted of trafficking methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine for a Mexican drug cartel will spend more than three decades behind bars for the crimes.

Richard Pineda-Rumbo, 31, was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a Gwinnett County jury found him guilty of four counts of trafficking more than 400 grams of meth, one count each of trafficking more than 400 grams of heroin and cocaine and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

He has been held at the Gwinnett County Jail since his Oct. 20, 2016, arrest.

According to prosecutors, on Oct. 20, agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were conducting a drug investigation at the Cortland Portico apartments on Preston Park Drive in Duluth, which they were brought to after receiving information from a “confidential source” that Pineda-Rumbo had drugs and guns in one of the apartments.

“Agents with Homeland Security contacted the Gwinnett Metro Task Force to assist them with their investigation,” prosecutors said. “During the course of surveillance at the apartment complex, Pineda-Rumbo was seen leaving an apartment and driving to a house at 2855 Binghampton Lane in Lawrenceville. After Pineda-Rumbo went into the house, another male, later identified as co-defendant Irving Arroyo-Perez, left in the vehicle Pineda-Rumbo had just arrived in.”

Agents followed Arroyo-Perez back to the Cortland Portico apartments, where they maintained surveillance. Meanwhile, other agents continued to watch the Binghampton Lane home, prosecutors said.

“Within the span of an hour, two vehicles were seen arriving in succession to the house. Each time, one of the vehicles’ occupants would go into the house for a few minutes before returning to their vehicle,” prosecutors said. “A male from the house (believed to be Pineda-Rumbo) would then go out to the vehicle and give the vehicle occupants a bag. Agents, suspecting that these were drug deals, stopped both vehicles after they left the neighborhood.”

In each vehicle, agents found about a kilogram of meth and arrested the occupants.

“It was soon discovered that the Drug Enforcement Administration had been conducting a separate investigation of the Binghampton Lane residence and its connection to a Mexican drug cartel operating in Gwinnett County and the metro Atlanta area,” prosecutors said. “The DEA had already obtained a search warrant for it. Upon execution of the search warrant, agents found that Pineda-Rumbo was the sole occupant inside. Multiple kilograms of methamphetamine and heroin along with two handguns and over $20,000 cash were also found.”

Agents testified at trial that Pineda-Rumbo’s home was being used as a stash house to distribute drugs for the cartel, and that no one was actually living inside.

“After the search at Binghampton Lane, agents obtained another search warrant for Pineda-Rumbo and Arroyo-Perez’s apartment at the Cortland Portico,” prosecutors said. “There, Arroyo-Perez was found and arrested. Several kilograms of methamphetamine and cocaine were also discovered along with one handgun, drug ledgers, wire transfer receipts and over $14,000 in cash.”

In addition to the solid meth, agents found evidence that liquid meth was being processed in the apartment and located several empty kilogram packages that had previously contained drugs.

Pineda-Rumbo’s co-defendants previously entered guilty pleas to drug trafficking and received sentences of 15 to 25 years in prison.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the DEA, Gwinnett Metro Task Force, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Lawrenceville Police Department were all involved in the investigation.

Crime Reporter

Isabel is a crime and health reporter for the Gwinnett Daily Post. She graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a B.A. in international studies. She is originally from the Boston area.

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