Drug trafficker Jose "Pepe" Barrientos-Rodriguez, a member of Mexico's Gulf Cartel, faces 22 years in prison for attempting to unload approximately 247.5 kilograms of cocaine in the Atlanta area, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Barrientos-Rodriguez, a 36-year-old Mexican national, received the sentence today in Atlanta from Judge Clarence Cooper. Barriento-Rodriguez was charged with participation in a conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He entered a guilty plea.

"Barrientos-Rodriguez attempted to harm law enforcement officers in his distribution of drugs in Atlanta and avoid justice by fleeing to Mexico," said Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Atlanta field division.

In 2001, DEA agents conducted an investigation of a drug organization operating in the Atlanta area that was being managed by Barrientos-Rodriguez and associated with the multi-million dollar Mexican cocaine trafficking organization known as the Gulf Cartel—the head of the cartel at the time was Osiel Cárdenas Guillén.

On June 7, 2001, DEA agents using a court-authorized wiretap of a telephone used by Barrientos-Rodriguez learned about the delivery of a large shipment of cocaine from south Texas.

DEA agents conducted surveillance of Barrientos-Rodriguez and others, following them to Montgomery Motors where federal agents observed them unloading approximately 247.5 kilograms of cocaine from a tractor-trailer into a white van. After the unloading, the van traveled toward Interstate 20 with Barrientos-Rodriguez following directly behind in a green Chevy.

"This case strikes a significant hit against the influx of cocaine to the United States from the Mexican cartels, and shows how effective our intervention can be when we cooperate closely with Mexican law enforcement to bring drug traffickers here from Mexico to be prosecuted," according to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.