10-year terms for drug ring roles

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Two lieutenants of mid-valley drug ring sentenced to prison terms
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Theresa Novak
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Article date: 
Friday, December 21, 2012
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Two of the top three men involved in Benton County’s second-largest known drug operation will spend the next 10 years in prison.

Benton County Circuit Court Judge David Connell handed down the sentences Thursday to Abel Gonzalez-Martinez, 32, and Juventino Santibanez-Castro, 25, as part of plea agreements negotiated by the Oregon Department of Justice, the Benton County District Attorney’s Office and attorneys for both men.

Gonzalez-Martinez, of Corvallis, will serve 120 months in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to charges of racketeering, delivery of heroin and delivery of methamphetamine — all felonies.

Santibanez-Castro was sentenced to 126 months in exchange for pleading guilty to racketeering, delivery of methamphetamine and conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine.

Both also were sentenced to 36 months of post-prison supervision.

Other drug and racketeering charges were dismissed.

Authorities said that Gonzalez-Martinez was second-in-command to the kingpin of the operation, his older brother, Rogelio Gonzalez-Martinez of Lebanon, who remains in custody.

The enterprise involved bringing in “substantial amounts” of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine from Mexico for distribution throughout Oregon, according to court testimony.

Some of that activity involved sales to undercover officers who were building a case that culminated in a March 13 raid. Authorities executed more than three dozen search warrants and made 27 arrests, including Santibanez-Castro and the Gonzalez-Martinez brothers.

The raid came almost five years to the day after another huge drug bust, dubbed Ice Breaker, which remains the largest criminal sweep in Benton County’s history. Some of the people arrested in the Ice Breaker 2 raid this March had ties to the earlier drug ring, authorities said.

Police said that Abel Gonzalez-Martinez and Santibanez-Castro acted as runners by supplying dealers with drugs.

On Thursday, Salem attorney Jeff Jones, who represented Abel Gonzalez-Martinez, said his client “got into something and is remorseful.” A father of three children, ages 4, 6 and 9, Gonzalez-Martinez “knows he won’t hug them tonight — or for the next 10 years,” Jones said.

Neither Gonzalez-Martinez nor Santibanez-Castro had anything to say when Judge Connell asked him if he had a statement.

After the sentencing, the men were led away to be turned over to the state Department of Corrections. They wore black and white prison stripes. Their wrists were bound to belly chains, their legs hobbled by ankle shackles.

 Abel Gonzalez-Martinez - ICE HOLD