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Date: 05-10-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Almarud Duarte, David Garcia, Eduardo Penaloza-Pacheco, and Kevin Tello

Case Number:


Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Hall County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Gainesville

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Gainesville, Georgia criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with conspiring to sell kilogram amounts of methamphetamine. Law enforcement officers seized approximately 200 kilograms of methamphetamine during the investigation.

“Illicit drugs devastatingly impact our communities, resulting in significant suffering by those addicted to the substances and the families who love them,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We thank our law enforcement partners for their dedication to combatting the scourge of drug trafficking and helping to keep our streets safe.”

“Finding, arresting and prosecuting the criminals trafficking illegal drugs greatly improves the safety of the community by preventing this poison from finding its way onto our streets,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Travis Pickard, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations is one of HSI’s highest priorities and we are proud of the work that we and our partners are doing.”

“I’m pleased to see these offenders will spend time behind bars for their crimes,” said Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch. “As you can see from this case, and so many others now under investigation, it takes teamwork to get these dangerous narcotics off of our streets. The Hall County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to the fight against illegal drugs pouring into our communities.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: From May 2021 to August 2021, the defendants conspired to, and did, distribute kilogram amounts of methamphetamine. Kevin Tello and David Garcia supplied the drugs to Almarud Duarte, who then sold the methamphetamine. Additionally, on June 28, 2021, Eduardo Penaloza-Pacheco sold a kilogram of methamphetamine supplied to him by Tello. Law enforcement officers then seized approximately 200 kilograms of methamphetamine during a search of Garcia’s residence.

Duarte, Garcia, and Tello pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Penaloza-Pacheco pled guilty to distribution of methamphetamine. U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story sentenced the defendants as follows:

Almarud Duarte, 27, of Oakwood, Georgia, pleaded guilty on January 23, 2023, and was sentenced to nine years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.

David Garcia, 42, of Duluth, Georgia, pleaded guilty on June 1, 2022, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Eduardo Penaloza-Pacheco, 38, of Gainesville, Georgia, pleaded guilty on May 16, 2022, and was sentenced to five years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Kevin Tello, 27, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, pleaded guilty on May 1, 2022, and was sentenced to eight years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, the Hall County Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Gwinnett County Metro Task Force, and the Georgia State Patrol.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keen prosecuted the case.

Outcome: See above.

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