By Pat Raia
A pair of Spring Hill men, who the Drug Enforcement Agency has confirmed are Mexican citizens, are headed to prison after a federal judge sentenced them to serve more than 20 years in connection with a methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution scheme operated of out of their Spring Hill home.
According to Hernando County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Mike Terry, in April 2019, following a three-year investigation, personnel from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, executed a warrant to search a residence at 11283 Elgin Boulevard in Spring Hill.
Their detectives found 145 grams of cocaine, 1.3 grams of heroin, 380 grams of powdered methamphetamine, and 29.5 pounds of liquid pure methamphetamine. Two firearms and $8,883 in U.S. currency were also found at the scene, Terry said.
Law Enforcement authorities subsequently arrested Adan Barajas Maldanado and Juan Carlos Arias Castillo and charged them with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
A written statement from the US attorney's Office of the Middle District of Florida said that Maldanado and Castillo lived together and operated their regional drug trafficking organization (DTO) from the non-descript suburban home and employed several couriers/assistants, who picked up drugs in Texas after they had been smuggled into the country from Mexico.
They then drove the drugs to Florida, delivered them to Maldanado and Castillo’s biggest customers, collected payments, wired drug profits to Mexico, and recruited others to wire money as well to evade law enforcement, the statement said.
In October, Maldanado pleaded guilty to the charges against him. Castillo also pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy.
On Dec. 4, U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew sentenced Maldanado to 25 years in prison for conspiring to distribute controlled substances and for possessing a gun to further his drug trafficking enterprise. Castillo was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Dec. 8.
Both men remain in federal custody until they are transferred to prison, Terry said.