Food Lion Employee And Friend Sold Cocaine Out Of Parking Lot For Years, Feds Say

By Britni de la Cretaz 05/10/17

The men were busted after allegedly selling guns, cocaine and a military silencer to a confidential informant. 

Pedro “Tony” Pabon Jr. and Juan “El Gordo” Rivera-Gutierrez
Pedro “Tony” Pabon Jr. and Juan “El Gordo” Rivera-Gutierrez courtesy: Western Tidewater Regional Jail

Two men are facing federal charges after being arrested for selling large amounts of cocaine, rifles, and a military silencer in the parking lot of a Virginia Beach Food Lion where one of the men worked, The Virginian-Pilot reports.

Pedro “Tony” Pabon Jr., 42, and Juan “El Gordo” Rivera-Gutierrez, 35, have both pleaded not guilty to the crimes, and both men are set to stand trial July 11 in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia. Pabon has been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine. Rivera-Gutierrez’s charges include conspiracy, distribution, possession of a firearm during and related to drug trafficking, and possession of an unregistered silencer, according to WNCN.

The sales were apparently made to a confidential informant (CI), which the majority of the case is based on. The CI claims that the cocaine sales happened between May 2014 and January 2017. Court documents reference meetings outside the Food Lion in Virginia Beach where Pabon worked, where he and Rivera-Gutierrez sold large amounts of cocaine to the CI.

It is reported that many other aspects of their drug-dealing business were discussed with the CI during their exchanges—including Rivera-Gutierrez mentioning that, when a customer was unable to pay him for a kilogram of cocaine—which, according to WNCN, he told the CI he could sell for $42,000—he took a motorcycle and boat as payment. The CI was reportedly being sold cocaine by the ounce, for a price of $1,000-$1,200 per ounce. The men brought the drugs to Virginia from New York, North Carolina and Florida, according to sources.

There was also one exchange where the CI purchased guns and a silencer along with the cocaine. Court documents indicate that the men sold the CI five guns “with high-capacity magazines” and a silencer, which is described as a “Department of Defense asset,” according to the documents. 

In court, The Virginian-Pilot reports that the defendants' attorneys argued that their clients were not typical drug charge defendants because neither man had ever been convicted of a felony and both had stable work histories. Rivera-Gutierrez works for a shipyard subcontractor and Pabon has been employed by Food Lion for about 20 years.

Both men’s defense attorneys, as well as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John Butler, declined to speak to the press about their clients’ cases.

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Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer, baseball enthusiast, and recovered alcoholic living in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @britnidlc.