Inmate's 'Relentless' Meth Operation Gets Him 27 More Years

Mexican gang member David 'Toro' Zavala is busted for running drug distribution from prison
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2023 10:00 AM CDT
Inmate Gets More Time for Meth Operation He Ran From Prison
Stock photo of a bag of meth.   (Getty Images/Sanny11)

A Mexican gang member already serving time in Georgia just got hit with a lot more time for distributing methamphetamine from behind bars. The Athens Banner-Herald reports that 30-year-old David "Toro" Zavala, who federal agents say is a known member of the Surenos 13 gang, received his additional prison sentence on Oct. 16 from US District Court Judge Ashley Royal after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges that included him directing the distribution of more than 220 pounds of meth from his prison cell. Zavala's new sentence, per WSB: more than 27 years, plus five years of probation after his release.

Zavala, who's been imprisoned on armed robbery and false imprisonment charges since 2012, isn't eligible for parole. Per court documents cited by a Department of Justice release, investigators started looking into Zavala's alleged drug-trafficking operation in 2016, as well as operatives working from jails in both Mexico and Georgia. When a co-defendant, Andrew Young, was picked up in May of that year for possession of a stolen car and possession of meth, authorities say they found communications between himself and Zavala that detailed trips Young had made to acquire meth and then distribute it to locations instructed by Zavala.

Zavala was said to have conducted his business from prison "using contraband cellphones and social media platforms," per the release. Zavala "was relentless in his efforts to direct a dangerous methamphetamine distribution network from behind bars, threatening both the safety of our communities and all those living and working in the prison with him," says US Attorney Peter Leary. Robert Murphy, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Atlanta unit, adds, "It's alarming to think that these criminals were brazen enough to distribute dangerous drugs while behind bars. But they must now face the consequences." (More methamphetamine stories.)

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