Drug dealer sentenced to 13 years in prison

Article author: 
Kaellen Hessel
Article publisher: 
Statesman Journal
Article date: 
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Article category: 
Article Body: 

A man who was deported to Mexico last year after being convicted of multiple crimes is back in an Oregon prison.

Gustavo Isabel Vega, 23, was sentenced to 13 years in prison after being convicted of attempting to commit murder, delivering heroin and attempting to flee from a police officer.

Vega was admitted into Coffee Creek Correctional Facility on Tuesday. A representative from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not able to answer questions Thursday about the possibility of Vega's being deported again.

Vega, whose last known address is in Boring, was arrested Jan. 31 following an Oregon State Police pursuit that ended near Turner.

At 12:15 a.m. Jan. 31, Oregon State Police Trooper Donald Rummer spotted a white Honda Civic going 85 mph on Interstate 5 near the Santiam Rest Stop on the border of Marion and Linn counties. Rummer pulled over the car, took Tracy Betancourt-Garcia's driver's license and noticed a man lying in the back of the car, according to a sentencing memorandum.

While running records checks in his patrol car, Rummer saw the car speed away. Rummer followed with his lights and siren on.

The Honda raced down I-5 at 120 mph and passed through light traffic. It swerved around a vehicle in the right-hand lane and then sharply cut in front of it to take an exit. Rummer chased the Honda onto country roads.

At one point the car quickly turned around and when his car's headlights illuminated the Honda's driver, Rummer noticed the man who was in the backseat was driving instead of Betancourt-Garcia, according to court records.

When Rummer tried to block the Honda's escape, the driver crashed into the patrol car and drove away. The chase continued back onto I-5 after the Honda drove the wrong way down the off ramp.

As the Honda slowed near the Turner exit, the driver leaned out of the car and fired two pistol shots at the trooper, according to court records.

The Honda took the Turner exit and the chase continued through the city. The Honda ran multiple stop signs without slowing down and reached speeds of 100 mph on rural roads.

Rummer rammed into the Honda to try to force it off the road. It spun into a ditch and stopped.

The driver, who was identified as Vega, got out of the car and reached down to his waistband. Trooper Nick Rhoades fired multiple shots at Vega until he turned away, raised his hands and ran away. None of the gunshots hit Vega, according to court records.

Rummer told Vega he would be shot if he didn't stop. He continued running so Rummer hit him with a stun gun. The second time he was hit with the stun gun, Vega fell in to a ditch...

Inside Vega's pants, law enforcement found more than 21 grams of heroin and a card with a hand-written statement that contained lyrics from a song glorifying drug trafficking, made derogatory comments about police and referenced a drug cartel and El Chapo Guzman, a powerful drug trafficker, according to court records.

Inside the car, detectives found more heroin, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a cell phone, almost $3,000, three .22 caliber rounds and one .22 caliber shell casing.

Records from the cell phones found at the scene, which belonged to Vega and Betancourt-Garcia, led law enforcement officials to believe the couple had conducted numerous drug transactions...

Vega was charged with five felonies and two misdemeanors...

Betancourt-Garcia pleaded guilty to delivering heroin before Judge Dennis Graves Oct. 30. A possession of heroin charge was dismissed. She was sentenced to a year and four months in prison.

In a sentencing memorandum filed mid-November, prosecutors argued that Vega's multiple convictions over the past three years, his probation record, lack of remorse, willingness to commit crimes to avoid being arrested, disregard for the law and history of institutional problems meant he should receive a 15-year prison sentence.

Beginning in 2012 and before his arrest in 2015, Vega was convicted of first-degree burglary, third-degree theft, felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of possession of heroin (from different incidents) and attempt to elude police.

Court records show he was in a gang-related fight in Multnomah County jail in 2013. He was in a fight with an inmate at the Marion County jail in August 2015.

On May 15, 2014, he was deported to Mexico. He was back in the United States and arranging illegal drug deals by Jan. 23, 2015, according to court records.

He was on post-prison supervision when the police chase and shooting occurred.