drugs

Meth traffickers aren't able to dodge federal penalties

A pair of large-scale methamphetamine traffickers arrested in Jackson County last year could not escape steep federal prison sentences after attempting to rush plea deals through state court that carry shorter incarceration terms, officials said.

The suspects were arrested while driving on Interstate 5 in March of 2011. The two were arrested by the Oregon State Police in unrelated incidents, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

On March 16, an OSP trooper stopped Jamie Eugene Muniz, 28, from Sacramento, on the freeway near Ashland. A search of his car turned up 10 pounds of meth wrapped in eight packages and hidden in a secret compartment in the center console. The estimated street value of the meth was $600,700.

The meth was destined for sale in the Portland area, officials said.

Four days later, an OSP trooper stopped a car driven by Francisco Hernandez-Figueroa, 29, of San Rafael, Mexico, on the freeway near Medford.

A search of the car found that it had been wired with an electronic activation system leading to two hidden compartments located behind the side panels in the rear passenger compartment. A switch hidden in the steering column opened the secret compartments, revealing 16 packages wrapped in black duct tape.

A total of 15 pounds of high-quality meth, with a street value of $870,000, was packed in the compartments.

Troopers also found $4,500 in $100 bills, believed to be proceeds from drug trafficking. The meth was bound for Seattle, officials said.

Law enforcement found that Hernandez-Figueroa had illegally entered the country with the intent of selling the large haul of meth.

Within a few days of their arrest both men demanded to plead guilty to the drug charges in state court. Their defense attorney advised them to do so to avoid a possible longer federal sentence, officials said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office had not reviewed the cases by the time each entered guilty pleas in state court, officials said.

Both were sentenced to nearly five years in Oregon prison, officials said.

However, this did not stop federal prosecutors from pursuing drug-trafficking crimes against the men. U.S. District Judge Owen Panner then sentenced Hernandez-Figueroa to 10 years in federal prison, while Muniz received five years of federal time.

The sentences will be served concurrently with the state convictions, officials said.

"These were some of the largest seizures of nearly 100 percent pure methamphetamine in Southern Oregon," said Amanda Marshall, U.S. Attorney for Oregon, in a news release. "The Department of Justice authorized our prosecution because the state convictions and sentences did not adequately vindicate the interest the United States has in prosecuting major drug traffickers."

Rick LaMountain, OFIR VP, clearly explains the folly of driver licenses for illegal aliens

Rick LaMountain, once again hits the nail on the head with his decisive, clear and well documented letter explaining why the upcoming Oregon Legislature should not restore driver's licenses to illegal aliens in our state.  Please, pass this article along to your Legislator so that they, too, can understand the folly of the idea.
 

David Cross explains that selective information leads to a misleading report

David Olen Cross tracks and reports criminal alien activity throughout the state and has done so for years.   It's not surprising that he holds accountable those that would pick and choose which information to include in the recent Oregon Commission on Public Safety’s final report to the governor, submitted on December 17, 2012.

How convenient to exclude the most damning information when the Governor's agenda is clear to anyone who cares to look at it.

Read Cross's Guest Opinion, published at registerguard.com
 

Drug bust leads to 11 arrests in Polk County

A seven-month investigation into a methamphetamine drug ring led to 11 arrests and the seizure of more than $130,000 of drugs Wednesday morning in Polk County.

About 4 a.m. Oregon State Police SWAT and a Polk County Special Response team served search warrants at three residences in Independence.

Polk County Sheriff Bob Wolfe said the morning bust went “like clockwork.”

“The best thing that happened was nobody got hurt — no suspects, no officers,” Wolfe said.

According to Independence police, one of more than a dozen agencies to participate in Wednesday’s search, the investigation began with undercover drug buys from suspects in July 2012.

A development in the investigation occurred Dec. 8, 2012, when law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of a drug transport vehicle in Douglas County enroute to Polk County based on information gained during the investigation.

Officials seized 6.5 pounds of methamphetamine, one pound of heroin and one pound of unidentified powder from the vehicle, which contained two suspects: Sergio Gustavo Pineda-Villanueva, 23, and Faliciano Ayala-Cardenas, 31.

Both men were arrested and taken to the Douglas County jail, where they have Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds.

Pineda-Villanueva was charged with racketeering, distribution of a controlled substance — methamphetamine and distribution of a controlled substance — heroin. His bail was set at $200,000. Ayala-Cardenas was arrested on the same charges and his bail was set at $100,000.

Officials learned that suspects may have been armed and some had histories of violent behavior, but no one was injured when SWAT and the special response team searched the residences, which were at side-by-side houses at 1145 and 1135 Monmouth Street, and an apartment complex at 1050 E Street.

“The city of Independence has received complaints from the general neighborhood — there is a lot of activity there,” Wolfe said of the residences. “They have spent a lot of time fixing this house up and making it look nice, but the fact that there are lots of vehicles coming and going, those sorts of things are always triggers for us.”

Officers also seized two firearms, computers, 12.9 grams of methamphetamine and three vehicles, including a GMC Yukon, a Jeep Cherokee and a Jaguar. The estimated street value of all the drugs seized during the operation is $120,000 in methamphetamine and $19,000 in heroin.

Four children were taken into protective custody and will be placed in foster care, said Independence police.
 

Senator Jeff Merkley Town Hall meetings in the area - plan to attend!

Alert date: 
2013-01-08
Alert body: 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 @ 1:30 PM
Marion County Town Hall

Keizer Civic Center
930 Chemawa Road NE
Keizer, OR 97303

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 @ 4:30 PM
Clackamas County Town Hall
Ohana Christian Fellowship of Seventh Day Adventists
1180 Rosemont Road
West Linn, OR 97068

If you are uncertain what to say, read this article before you attend.  Senator Merkley needs to hear from concerned Oregonians about the issue of illegal immigration and his abysmal NumbersUSA grades.

 

Man gets 17 months for apartment, Quality Inn fires

Angel M. Torres-Reyna, 41, was sentenced to 17 months in prison for setting fire to his apartment and, later, a hotel room.

A 41-year-old Vancouver man was sentenced Monday in Clark County Superior Court to 17 months’ prison for setting fire first to his apartment and, three days later, to his room at the Hazel Dell Quality Inn.

Through a Spanish-language interpreter, Angel Torres-Reyna pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of second-degree arson and one count of third-degree assault in exchange for reduced charges. He was originally charged with two counts of first-degree arson and one count of third-degree assault. A first-degree arson conviction would have involved a longer prison sentence.

The Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office made the plea agreement because prosecutors were uncertain they would prevail had the two arson cases been tried separately, said Deputy Prosecutor Anna Klein. A plea agreement also saves the expense of a trial, or possibly two, in this case.

“It was a tactical move, and the sentence was not much less than he would have gotten in trial,” Klein said.

Seventeen months in prison is the maximum sentence for second-degree arson; a first-degree arson conviction would have added about nine to 17 months, Klein said.

Torres-Reyna also will be ordered to pay $322,312 in restitution, though many convicts are unable to pay.

When Judge Scott Collier asked Torres-Reyna if he would like to say anything before sentencing, he declined through his interpreter.

“What I’d like to hear from you is the potential harm, not just property damage, you caused,” Collier said. “When you set fire to the hotel, there were people in the hotel, firefighters. It puts them at serious risk.”

“I’m going to accept the plea agreement but a little bit begrudgingly,” the judge said.

Torres-Reyna set fire Sept. 27 to his apartment at Willowbrook Apartments on Northeast 51st Street in the Truman neighborhood. Two days later, he set fire to the hotel room, provided to him by the American Red Cross, at 7001 N.E. Highway 99. He climbed onto the hotel roof and refused to come down when firefighters tried to rescue him.

He kicked a rescue ladder and caused a firefighter to tumble to the ground, prompting the third-degree assault charge. The ladder struck a vehicle and broke out its window. From his perch, Torres-Reyna kept police at bay for four hours.

Several other hotel guests, also displaced by the Willowbrook Apartments fire, were evacuated during the hotel fire and subsequent standoff.

Initially, police expressed concerns that Torres-Reyna might be mentally ill. He received a mental health evaluation and was found competent Nov. 30 to stand trial.

He is under an immigration hold placed by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. It’s unclear whether he’ll serve out his sentence before being deported.

News Flash: DRUG WARS producer Rusty Fleming coming to Salem

Alert date: 
2013-01-02
Alert body: 

OFIR is honored to welcome Rusty Fleming, award winning producer of DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead, a chilling documentary.

Join OFIR, Saturday, January 26th from 1 - 4 pm at the Salem Public Library - Loucks Auditorium. 

Learn what you should know, must know, but DON'T know about drug cartels.  

Embedded in a vicious and violent drug cartel, Rusty filmed this documentary to teach us what we all need to understand about Mexican drug cartels and their malignant movement into our country and right here in our community.  Meet the man that has been in the belly of the beast!

Invite your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and anyone you know with children to join you for this FREE event.  Donations appreciated.

If you have questions, please call 504.435.0141.  Don't miss this unique opportunity to get educated.

CAIN TV reports:

Award winning producer, director, author and consultant for 25 years, Rusty started his multi-media company to produce industrial films, commercials and news segments.

Rusty is recognized by national media and law enforcement agencies as an expert on the Mexican drug cartels. Rusty has studied the cartels from the inside out, interviewing dozens of active cartel operatives from Mexico and the U.S., ranging from street dealers to the upper management of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in existence today.

Since producing the award winning documentary, Drug Wars: Silver or Lead, Rusty has spent the past seven years traveling throughout Latin America reporting for international television and radio broadcasts. He has made multiple appearances with MSNBC, CNN and FOX. In addition, he has produced multiple episodes of Gangland for The History Channel and still produced other episodic shows for A&E, Discovery Channel and National Geographic networks.

His first book on the subject "Narco-Warfare in the 21st Century" published in early 2009 details the story of how Rusty was able to get inside one cartel revealing the operational tactics they employ to run their criminal syndicates. The book serves as a roadmap as to how the cartels have evolved and the consequences of continuing to minimize and dismiss their true objectives.

Rusty lives in Sierra Blanca, Texas where he and Sheriff Arvin West have built a faith-based drug and alcohol rehab for men and women called Ranch on the Rock. Rusty also works with the Hudspeth County Sheriff's office as Public Information Officer.

Four arrested near elementary school

Four people were arrested in Hermiston on Saturday for possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of weapons and frequenting a place of drugs.

Miguel Angel Alvarado Samaniego, 44, of Hermiston, Laurie Estrada Galindo, 35, of Hermiston, Juan Castillo Gordian, 29, of Mt. Hood, and Obispo Enriquez Valesquez, 21, of Mt. Hood, were arrested on multiple accounts of unlawful possession of controlled substances, forged instruments, weapons and firearms. Samaniego had a warrant in Umatilla County for failure to appear to court and Galindo is a registered felon.

ICE HOLD - Miguel Angel Alvarado Samaniego, Juan Castillo Gordian, Obispo Enriquez Valesquez

Appeals court continues border agent's 'Twilight Zone'

Advocates for a U.S .Border Patrol agent sent to prison for arresting a suspect carrying 75 pounds of drugs into the United States are seeking a presidential pardon after an appeals court affirmed the agent’s 24-month sentence.

Jesus E. “Chito” Diaz Jr. was convicted of using extra force in the apprehensive of the suspect, identified as “MBE,” despite the fact the juvenile suspect was returned to Mexico almost immediately without any complaint “that he was injured, hurt, or in pain.”

The Mexican government, which several times has gotten involved in U.S. prosecutions of U.S. Border Patrol agents over its treatment of Mexicans caught carrying drugs into the United States, then demanded a prosecution by the U.S. because MBE was arrested “with excessive force” and he “complained about the incident.”

On appeal, Diaz’ defense argued the trial judge said the case looked like nothing more than a misdemeanor, but the conviction was on a felony.

“Yet, the court affirms the lower court’s decision?” wrote Andy Ramirez, president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council. “Just as it has in prior cases where the government has been hellbent to make victims out of illegal alien narco-terrorists, and turn law enforcement officers into out of control, vicious thugs with badges? We don’t buy it, for this case fits the pattern and does not pass the smell test.”

The reaction came after the conviction of Diaz was affirmed by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Ramirez said his organization now will seek a presidential pardon “as this purely political case against Agent Diaz is a travesty sought out by the Mexican government in another message prosecution.”

“The Diaz case and decision by the appellate court to affirm the conviction against him continues a pattern of overreaching prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice especially in the Western District of Texas that include well documented cases against former USBP Agents Gary Brugman, Ramos and Compean, Noe Aleman, former FBI Special Agent in Charge Hardrick Crawford, Jr, and former Edwards County Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez,” Ramirez said.

Diaz issued a statement through the organization: “My family and I are deeply disappointed in the 5th Circuit’s decision on my appeal considering the fact that the presiding judge during oral commented during oral arguments that this looked more like a misdemeanor than a felony.”

Sign a petition demanding Jesus Diaz be freed from a case launched because of pressure from the Mexican government.

E. Grady Jolly, the trial judge, said: “Nobody’s arguing, really, that the officer did the right thing or that it can be justified so much. The question is it just sounds more like a misdemeanor instead of a felony to me.”

Ramirez said the goal is a presidential pardon, after Diaz’ trip through the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution and an El Paso Texas halfway house and since he’s just days ago been restored to his wife and children.

“It is unconscionable that the case, which was pushed by the Mexican government, and included documented suborned perjury, could be affirmed in the favor of the so-called victim, MBE, a narco-terrorist illegal alien,” said Ramirez.

The organization said the drug-running suspect was covered with gang tattoos and had been the subject of a “be on lookout” warning from the Border Patrol already.

Also, far from being injured in the arrest, the only “markings” on MBE were “those from the straps on his shoulders … while carrying 75 lbs of bundled marijuana,” the organization said.

WND reported Diaz was found guilty of denying the teenager his constitutional rights by applying excessive force during the arrest. He was accused eventually of violating the smuggler’s rights by forcing him to the ground during his arrest, handcuffing him, then pulling on his arms to coerce him into complying with orders.

 


Jesus Diaz Jr.

The audio of the trial judge’s comments have been posted on the LEOAC site.

In it, Jolly stated, “Nobody’s arguing, really, that the officer did the right thing or that it can be justified so much. The question is it just sounds more like a misdemeanor instead of a felony to me.”

According to the FreeAgentDiaz.com website, Diaz was “maliciously prosecuted at the request of the Mexican consul in Eagle Pass, Texas.”

The legal case against the officer was “solely motivated by politics and is yet another example of prosecutorial abuse and misconduct while protecting Mexico’s narco-terror influences,” organizers of the website said.

According to the discovery documents, other agents, hours after the alleged incident, claimed to an off-duty Border Patrol officer that Diaz used “excessive force” on the drug smuggler. That’s even though the suspect “was processed for voluntary return to Mexico by BPA Marco A. Ramirez, and subsequently returned to Mexico on the same date.”

None of the other agents thought the case significant enough to try to stop it at the time.

Several members of Congress, including Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Lamar Smith of the House Judiciary Committee, had been asked to look into the case.

Diaz’ wife earlier said she was outraged because the government told her that her husband would not be allowed to return home even after serving his prison term.

That’s because she also is a Border Patrol agent and is armed.

“I have to ask what does the DOJ want me to do? I can’t retire, I’m too young. Divorcing him is not an option as he would still have to come around for the children. What is Chito going to do about his brother, not see him for the next five years? He carries a gun,” Diana Diaz said in a statement released at the time.

The group has called for the U.S. House of Representatives to investigate the case.

WND reported when the federal government started reaching into the prison commissary fund belonging to Diaz to address part of a $7,000 fine imposed by the judge. That’s even though the court earlier told Diaz the fine would not be paid until after his jail sentence.

 

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean

Border watchers will remember the extended battle fought by Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean after they were prosecuted, convicted and jailed, again at the request of the Mexican government, for shooting at and striking a drug smuggler who reportedly dropped a load in the U.S. and was fleeing back to Mexico.

Their punishments ultimately were commuted by President George W. Bush, although they did not receive pardons, leaving the convictions on their records.

Their original case stemmed from the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila. The two officers said they thought Aldrete-Davila was armed and made a threatening move.

WND was among the first to report Aldrete-Davila then committed a second drug offense, smuggling a second load of 750 pounds of marijuana across the border while he was under the protection of immunity from federal prosecutor Johnny Sutton’s office and in possession of a border-pass card authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.

WND also reported when Aldrete-Davila admitted to federal drug smuggling charges, was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for 57 months.

Aldrete-Davila was granted immunity for his drug smuggling by federal prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against the agents. He had crossed the Rio Grande and picked up a marijuana-loaded vehicle near El Paso. After a car chase in which he fled from the officers, he abandoned the vehicle and ran back across the border on foot. He was shot in the buttocks as he ran.

Saturday, January 26th, 1-4pm - DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead, a documentary

Alert date: 
2013-01-11
Alert body: 

This is an event you will not want to miss:  DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead is a chilling documentary about the malignant spread of drug cartel presence in our country, our state and right here in our community.  OFIR is honored to welcome Rusty Fleming, award winning producer of DRUG WARS: Silver or Lead. 

Join OFIR, Saturday, January 26th from 1 - 4 pm at the Salem Public Library - Loucks Auditorium.

Learn what you should know, must know, but DON'T know about drug cartels.

Embedded in a vicious and violent drug cartel, Rusty filmed this documentary to teach us what we all need to understand about Mexican drug cartels and their malignant movement into our country and right here in our community. Meet the man that has been in the belly of the beast.Embedded in a vicious and violent drug cartel, Rusty filmed this documentary to teach us what we all need to understand about Mexican drug cartels and their malignant movement into our country and right here in our community. Meet the man that has been in the belly of the beast!

The High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (HIDTA) identifies eight counties in Oregon with critical drug problems.   

The I-5 corridor is a favored route among drug runners smuggling drugs from Mexico into Oregon, Washington and Canada. We are in harms way everyday and must become educated about what is really happening on our streets, in our schools and even at our kids parties.

If you have teens, friends with teens, grandchildren that are teens or neighbors with teens, please invite them to join you at this FREE event.                  

Apathy and ignorance of this issue is not an excuse, it's a major part of the problem.

If you have questions about this event, would like more information, or think that you could contribute to this program in a positive way, please contact us at 503.435.0141.

NOTE:  This award winning documentary is not a Hollywood movie, it's an actual, factual, behind the scenes look at how cartels operate and the dangers they pose for our children and our society.  Portions of this film are sickening and horrific, but true.  Please, be advised and prepare your children in advance.

NOTE:  The producer of the documentary recommends that children as young as 10 should see this movie.  Gangs and cartels are targeting even younger children now.  Shockingly, eight year olds are the new cartel target for drug addiction.  Every child is at risk.

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