Man Described As Drug Kingpin Sentenced To Life In Prison

A man described by federal prosecutors as a drug kingpin for transporting thousands of pounds of marijuana to Charlotte and the Southeast is heading to prison.

Hector Ruben McGurk was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Authorities called it one of the largest marijuana trafficking cases ever prosecuted in the Western District of North Carolina.

The first trial for the 47-year-old El Paso, Texas, man was in 2004, and it ended in a mistrial after jurors couldn't reach a unanimous verdict. He was convicted in April 2005 of drug and money laundering conspiracies at a federal trial in Charlotte. His sentence was handed down on Monday.

Prosecutors say witnesses testified about McGurk's extensive organization that transported large shipments of marijuana in tractor trailers from El Paso to North Carolina and elsewhere in the Southeast.

The lead investigator in the case was shot to death in Atlanta just a few weeks before McGurk's retrial in 2005.