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ROANOKE — Two Hillsville men pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiring to deal methamphetamine, after a two-year investigation by the Twin County Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Federal agents had sought search warrants for the homes of Rigoberto Ruiz-Ruvalcaba of 328 Saddle Up Trail and Stacey Harold Bullion of 63 Lewis Lane as early as April 2009.
A federal grand jury issued a six-count indictment naming both men last March.
An unnamed source involved in the investigation identified Ruiz-Ruvalcaba as a supplier of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine as early as 2006, according to federal court records.
The source told the federal authorities that "he/she has observed Ruiz-Ruvalcaba in possession of 300 to 400 pounds of marijuana and 10 to 15 pounds of methamphetamine at this residence," it said.
From late 2004 to mid-2005, Ruiz-Ruvalcaba had sold one pound of meth to this source a week, the document went on to say.
Investigators found a second confidential source who named Ruiz-Ruvalcaba "as a multi-pound source of supply of methamphetamine," who "would frequently travel to Chicago and Texas to pick up either drugs and/or United States currency derived from drug trafficking proceeds," according to the court records.
Law enforcement officials made a purchase of meth from Bullion at his trailer in October 2008, the document says.
"Surveillance units heard, via an electronic monitoring device, that Bullion was going to leave 61 Lewis Lane, Hillsville, Va., and pick up a quantity of methamphetamine," it reports.
Law enforcement officials then observed Bullion's Dodge pickup going to 328 Saddle Up Trail, about a third of a mile away from Bullion's home.
After that, Bullion returned home and the police's informant bought meth from him, the investigator writes.
Investigators also monitored phone calls from Bullion to Ruiz-Ruvalcaba's landline phone, according to the search warrant. The calls were allegedly about lining up quantities of the drugs to sell.
Law enforcement officials took substances obtained through their drug buys from Bullion to either the DEA Mid-Atlantic Laboratory or the Virginia state forensics laboratory. "The lab analysis resulted in a positive test for the presence of methamphetamine in all drug exhibits," the warrant said.
Bullion had described his drug supplier to the confidential informant as "a Hispanic male that worked in the pine tree cutting/pruning business," the document said.
The DEA agent knew that description fit Ruiz-Ruvalcaba.
When the authorities arrested the suspects, they charged both men with conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, a schedule II drug.
Bullion also faced four counts of distribution of meth and Ruiz-Ruvalcaba one.
The suspects both have pleaded guilty to the single count of conspiracy, according to court records. All counts of distribution of meth against them will be dropped, according to the plea agreements.
The maximum penalty possible both Bullion and Ruiz-Ruvalcaba is a stint of up to 40 years in a federal prison and a $2 million fine.
The minimum sentence is five years of incarceration, court records state.
Ruiz-Ruvalcaba agreed to surrender $10,000 to the authorities as a forfeiture, the plea deal states. This will avert the federal government from seizing the property on Saddle Up Trail where Ruiz-Ruvalcaba lived.
"I understand that I may be subject to deportation from the United States as a result of my conviction for this offense," Ruiz-Ruvalcaba's plea agreement states.
Sentencing hearings for Bullion and Ruiz-Ruvalcaba have been set for Dec. 17.