Heroin dealer who played part in Keizer woman's fatal overdose gets 18 years in prison

The death of Ron Putnam's daughter hits him just as hard today as when she died three years ago.

Four days after the April 2012 fatal heroin overdose of Laurin Putnam, authorities arrested at least half a dozen drug dealers suspected of being part of a heroin supply chain...

Seven men faced federal charges and another three were accused in Marion County Circuit Court. The state charges against the trio have been dismissed, court records show, and Tuesday marked the federal sentencing of the second of the seven remaining suspects.

The lengthy criminal proceedings have worn on the 21-year-old's family, Ron Putnam said....

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon sentenced Gerardo Chalke-Lopez, 40, to 18 years in prison Tuesday for conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in the death of another person, and for illegal re-entry....

The federal prosecutions are under the Len Bias law, named after a University of Maryland basketball player who died of a cocaine overdose in 1986. The law enables prosecutors to seek stiffer penalties against people involved in the distribution of a drug that leads to a fatal overdose.

Jose Aldana Soto, 33, was sentenced April 8 to three years and 10 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in the death of another person. Sergio Quezada Lopez, Chalke-Lopez's younger brother, is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Court records show Christopher Wood, 22; Rigoberto "Jose" Romo Gonzalez, 25; Julian Hernandez Castillo, 34; and Carlos "Braulio" Acosta Mendoza, 36, have all pleaded guilty to charges linked to Putnam's death...

Laurin Putnam was found dead in her apartment two days after she moved into it. Prosecutors said the West Salem High School graduate first started taking painkillers to help recover from an injury related to playing softball and her addiction to the medication later led to heroin use.

Chalke-Lopez ran a heroin trafficking operation that went through Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Nevada, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen Bickers.  He has been the target of state and federal investigators for 10 years for drug-related offenses, she said.

Chalke-Lopez went by "La Loca," which means the crazy woman in Spanish, Bickers said. He has been deported to his native Mexico three times since 2006, a government's sentencing memo said. In that same year, he was convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin.

In 2010, Multnomah County Sheriff's investigators stopped Chalke-Lopez in a vehicle later determined to have more than a pound and a half of heroin hidden inside, but he was released before the drugs were found, the memo said.

Chalke-Lopez's brother, Quezada-Lopez, 35, was one of the half-dozen arrested since after Putnam's death. Chalke-Lopez was arrested three months later...

...Chalke-Lopez was recorded telling someone that he planned to cause harm to a person who cooperated with authorities against his younger sibling and referenced where the informant's family lived in Mexico, the memo said.

The possible danger Chalke-Lopez posed to those who aided investigators made him a huge threat, Bickers said.

The arrest of his brother and death of Putnam didn't deter the older sibling, according to Bickers. He continued working with another high-level heroin trafficker and others up until his arrest, where he was found with more than a pound of heroin.

The Putnam family is still learning how to deal with the loss of Laurin, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kemp Strickland. The 21-year-old's mother, Julie, who was also in court Tuesday, has struggled with anxiety, depression, alcohol and other issues brought on by the grief of her daughter's death...

Bickers recommended 18 years in prison for Chalke-Lopez. Tyl Bakker, Chalke-Lopez's attorney, asked the judge to impose an 11-year sentence. He said his client has a drug addiction himself and that his age and prior lack of incarceration should be taken into account.

Chalke-Lopez asked Simon for leniency and a chance at redemption....

After the sentencing, Chalke-Lopez shuffled out of the courtroom under the glares of Ron and Julie Putnam....

Verdict: Man guilty of murder in Hillsboro woman's disappearance

A Washington County jury has found Eloy Vasquez-Santiago guilty of murder in the 2012 killing of a 55-year-old mother of six, who was a field hand in the berry farms around Hillsboro.

Maria Bolanos-Rivera went on a date with her coworker Vasquez-Santiago on Aug. 26, 2012, and never returned....

Jurors reached their verdict shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday, after more than nine hours of deliberations, which began Friday afternoon...

Bolanos-Rivera's children and other family members -- 11 in total -- were in the courtroom for the verdict.

Arizona residents, officials tell senators Southwest border ‘is not secure’

WASHINGTON – Local law enforcement must be involved in securing “the rural parts of the Southwest border,” which is still dangerously insecure, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels told a Senate panel Tuesday....

“I want to be crystal clear: The border is not secure,” said Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent who was testifying on behalf of the National Border Patrol Council.

Cabrera said some people don’t realize the extent of border issues because the Department of Homeland Security uses data that inaccurately shows that border patrol agents are “75 percent effective in apprehending illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.”

A more realistic metric is somewhere between 35 – 40 percent – and that percentage is even lower when dealing with experienced criminals in the drug cartels, he said.

Dannels said trafficking of drugs and people has “diminished the quality of life” for residents of Cochise County and placed “unbearable strain” on the county’s budget and resources.

Dannels laid the problem squarely at the feet of federal officials, whose changes to border priorities in the 1990s forced illegal activity into the rural areas along the border.

“I am not proud to say that today we are a product of the federal government’s plan,” Dannels said.

Dannels said that fear is rampant along the border – with many of his constituents afraid to leave their homes.

“It’s just a horrible way to live when we live in the United States,” he said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said at the hearing that the border can be secured through proper use of assets, strategies and technology.

“Those who say, well you just can’t do it – they obviously are incorrect because every nation has the obligation to have a safe and secure border,” McCain said....

“Those that choose to live on our border should deserve the same freedom and liberty as those that live here in D.C., Iowa and beyond,” Dannels said.

Mexican Drug Cartels Caused the Border Crisis

Mexico’s warring drug cartels helped orchestrate the massive influx of unaccompanied alien children that streamed through the Rio Grande Valley last summer, according to a leaked report from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

...the children did not enter the country entirely “unaccompanied.” How, when, and where the alien children crossed into the United States appears to have been determined by transnational criminal organizations who exercise control over much of the southern border, according to the leaked report first obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

... the cartels were making strategic decisions at the border in response to the actions of former Governor Rick Perry. When Perry deployed the National Guard to the border in the middle of the crisis in late-July of 2014, the cartels immediately responded....

The Obama administration immediately began taking credit for this development the very next month. U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Gil Kerlikowske celebrated the news of fewer unaccompanied alien children crossing the southern border as directly attributable to President Obama...

But the leaked report demonstrates that it was Perry who played the biggest role in stemming the tide of illegal immigrant children flowing into the U.S., not the Obama administration. In response to Perry’s efforts to secure the border, the cartels stepped up their surveillance and scouting activities to uncover vulnerabilities in the system....

Despite the elaborate gang activities detailed in the report, the Obama administration continues to describe the southern border as becoming more secure each and every day. Soon after the massive influx tapered off last year, Kerlikowske said, “Our border has been and remains more secure than it has been in decades.” But the leaked report shows the spurious nature of the Obama administration’s claim.

The increasing number of “special interest aliens,” those from countries that are known terrorist hotbeds, poses a “significant threat to homeland security,” according to the report. “The number of CBP encounters with SIAs in Texas sectors increased 15 percent during the first nine months of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013,” the report finds. “Over the past few years, these have included SIAs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Turkey.”

Between November 2013 and July 2014, approximately 143 individuals on terrorist watch-lists successfully crossed the southern border into the U.S. before encountering law enforcement or immigration-enforcement officers.

One of these special interest aliens was a member of al-Shabaab, the Islamic terrorist group. The Somali man was encountered at the southern border in Hidalgo, Texas in June 2014....

The full extent to which the drug cartels and special interest aliens have overrun Texas’ border remains unclear....

“Two months from now, if [another surge of immigrants] occurs, well then we’ve lost that edge, but right now I think we have it,” Martinez says. “We need to learn their pattern so you can get the right staff in there to intercept that. … Either we’re looking at theirs or they’re looking at ours.” The edge the U.S. maintains comes at a steep cost. The report says the state of Texas spent more than $100 million to regain control of the border, but that “ample and compelling evidence” suggests the Texas-Mexico border is still not secure. It is unclear if Texas has the wherewithal to keep the border in check this summer, when more illegal immigrants are expected to arrive.

Mexican border now a major entry point for Cuban migrants

Although a homemade raft overloaded with desperate people is the most enduring image of the decades-long migration to the U.S. from Cuba, that is not the way most Cubans without visas now arrive.

Most walk across the Mexican border.

"It is surprising. And it is surprising that we are now seeing those numbers officially reported," said Jorge Duany, a Florida International University professor who studies migration patterns.

During the last three months of 2014, nearly 6,500 Cubans arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That figure is up from 4,328 from the same period the previous year, an increase of 50 percent.

The number of Cubans without visas processed through the agency's Miami field office more than doubled over that same period, rising from 893 to 2,135. Many flew directly to Miami aboard flights from Spain, South America, the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands, using passports from Spain and other third countries.

The 1,900-mile long Southwest border, for years the main entry point for undocumented migrants from Mexico and Central America, was also ground zero for a recent spike in Cuban migrants...

The surge in Cuban migrants triggered by the announcement may be most evident in the number of Coast Guard interdictions at sea. In December 2014, 331 Cubans in boats and rafts were stopped before they could reach the U.S. All were taken back to Cuba.

During the last three months of 2014, 132 Cubans made it to shore in Florida, up from 105 during the same period in 2013, according to Border Patrol figures.

Unknown is the number who landed without being detected and did not report to U.S. officials, or who perished at sea...

Once in the U.S., those arrivals then "refresh the source of income" to Cuba by sending money home to relatives on the island, Sanchez said.

Cubans also enter the U.S. with visas issued by the Interest Section in Havana. Current accords call for a minimum of 20,000 visas a year, but Duany said that recently the number of visas issued has averaged 32,000 annually.

Regardless of any changes to the Cuban Adjustment Act, or the lifting of the embargo, Duany predicts migration from Cuba will increase over the next decade. "The economic conditions, the living conditions in Cuba, don't seem to improve, and the force of family ties remains strong," he said. "I don't see any indication that will change."

David Abraham, a University of Miami law professor and expert in Cuban migration, agrees. "Change in Cuba comes slowly," he said. "What's driving people to come here doesn't change. That's economic opportunity."

Suspect in August’s triple homicide booked into Benton County jail

A Umatilla man now is charged with three counts of aggravated first-degree murder for allegedly shooting three people in a Benton County cornfield last August.

Francisco J. Miranda-Resendiz, 23, was booked into the Benton County jail on Friday. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday.

The bodies of David Perez-Saucedo, 22, Victoria Torres, 19, and Abigail Torres-Renteria, 23, were found Aug. 9 on farmland off Nine Canyon Road, southeast of the intersection with Coffin Road.

The victims all were from Pasco. Torres-Renteria was almost nine months pregnant.

Miranda-Resendiz initially was charged with first-degree murder for Perez-Saucedo, but his charges were later amended to include the two women, who were not related.

Aggravated murder in Washington carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of release, or death, if prosecutors decide to seek the death penalty.

As of Jan. 16, no one else had been charged in connection to the triple homicide.

Miranda-Resendiz had been in the Umatilla County jail since his Aug. 10 arrest. Benton County prosecutors have waited for extradition paperwork to clear the governor’s offices in both states before transporting him to Kennewick.

Jail records and court documents in Oregon and Washington show different spellings and variations of his last name, including Resendez Miranda.

His bail is set at $1 million. He also has a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.

He entered a plea deal Dec. 1 in Umatilla County Circuit Court to a misdemeanor charge of menacing. The Oregon case was for threatening a fourth Tri-City man who was with Perez-Saucedo, Torres and Torres-Renteria hours before they were killed. Miranda-Resendiz was caught on a surveillance camera outside a convenience store.

The victim in the menacing case claimed he was able to run to safety.

Benton County sheriff’s officials in late August said Miranda-Resendiz’s two brothers and father were wanted for questioning in the homicide investigation.

Fidel Miranda-Huitron, 51, Eduardo Miranda-Resendiz, 24, and Fernando de Jesus Miranda-Resendiz, 19, all lived in the Umatilla area and are believed to have possibly left the country after the shootings.

Court documents show the slayings might have been retaliation for a break-in at Miranda-Resendiz’s apartment the night before. He worked with Perez-Saucedo at a Wyckoff Farms property along the Columbia River in Paterson.

Perez-Saucedo’s group went to Umatilla, possibly to a party, late on Aug. 8. The same night, Miranda-Resendiz was in Umatilla drinking with friends when he allegedly became concerned that Perez-Saucedo broke into one of his Umatilla apartments, documents said.

Witnesses reportedly told authorities that Miranda-Resendiz was a suspected drug dealer.

The victims were later confronted outside the convenience store by the occupants of four vehicles. Video footage shows Perez-Saucedo, Torres and Torres-Renteria being forced into another car, court documents said. One person was seen on the video carrying a weapon.

It is unclear from the court documents what happened next or how the victims got to south Benton County. A farmworker discovered their bodies at 5:30 a.m. the next morning in the field, which is about 15 miles from Miranda-Resendiz’s apartment.

Miranda-Resendiz has denied taking Perez-Saucedo out of his vehicle earlier that night, and told a friend that someone else was responsible for the killings.

Deportable Aliens Being Released to Work in the U.S.

Washington, DC (January 15, 2015) � A report by the Center for Immigration Studies reveals that illegal aliens in the process of being deported are getting amnestied with little attention, as Congress focuses on the five million illegal alien parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who, thanks to the president’s executive amnesty, are receiving work permits.

Shortly after the president’s November announcement of an amnesty, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices around the country were directed to start releasing from detention those who the administration no longer considers priorities. And, under current policy, many illegal aliens who have criminal records and/or prior deportations are getting work permits.

View the entire article at:

In just a month, more than 600 detained illegal aliens were freed by the executive action, 200 of whom were in Arizona. These individuals, who may not even have any ties to the U.S. and may have already been order removed by the court, include illegal aliens with pending criminal cases, illegal aliens with criminal charges that were dismissed or dropped (sometimes local prosecutors drop charges because they believe the alien will be deported), and illegal aliens with significant traffic violations (this can include drunk driving, vehicle theft, and hit-and-run).

“It’s bad enough that they are letting illegal aliens who are on the verge of deportation walk out of detention, but giving them a work permit is adding insult to the injury to American workers," said Jessica Vaughan, the Center’s Director of Policy Studies. “The president has tried to create a stealth amnesty that destroys what little integrity that remains of immigration law. Congress needs to act promptly to rein in the president’s cavalier abuse of executive authority.”

Instead of enforcing the law, as they have sworn to do, ICE officers now spend time aiding illegal aliens find which of the various executive amnesties they qualify for and responding to grievances.

As in the case of tens of thousands of criminal releases in the past, neither local law enforcement agencies nor the victims are alerted. ICE does keep track of aliens who are released, and can disclose to the public and to local authorities the details on the number of releases, the aliens' criminal histories, the severity of the aliens' crimes, the zip code of the aliens' last known address, the nature of any supervision, and the reason for release � including specification of those aliens released under provisions of the various executive amnesty categories. FOIA requests from the public can be submitted here. Journalists can make requests directly to the ICE Office of Public Affairs, and members of Congress can use the appropriate channels to learn the details on ICE releases in their districts.

Contact: Marguerite Telford

4 times deported, Mexican gets 6 years after meth discovery

Federal prosecutors say a Mexican man deported four times from the United States has been sentenced to six years in prison after he was arrested in a southern Oregon traffic stop and officers found 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine...

...identified him as 44-year-old Julio Gonzalez-Zamudio.

Prosecutors said he has a record of drug offenses and burglaries, had once served more than five years, and was most recently deported in 2011.

They said the sentence Judge Owen Panner imposed Monday covers his illegal re-entry and his violation of release-from-custody terms in 2011.


Felon deported to Mexico two years ago to face sentencing next week following arrest for pointing BB gun at motorist

A man accused of shooting a BB gun at a car in Oregon City this spring and later found to have packaged bindles of heroin in his vehicle is expected to change his plea and be sentenced in federal court on Tuesday.

Daniel Jimenez-Barragan, 22, was indicted in U.S. District Court for possession with intent to distribute heroin and illegal re-entry to the country. He was a convicted felon who had been deported to Mexico two years earlier...

Jimenez-Barragan was arrested on April 9 after Oregon state police responded to a report of a motorist driving recklessly on Interstate 205...

Jimenez-Barragan provided a fake Mexican driver's license. Police searched the truck and said they found a BB gun, $6,600 in cash and approximately five grams of heroin.

Jimenez-Barragan, 28, then gave police a second phony name. After he was fingerprinted, police learned his real identity.

Jimenez-Barragan was deported from the United States on April 25, 2012. He has prior criminal convictions in Multnomah County for delivery of heroin in March 2012 and possession of heroin in October 2011.

A plea in the federal case would result in the dismissal of pending charges against Jimenez-Barragan in Clackamas County, Mygrant wrote in a sentencing memo.

His plea and sentencing is set for 11:30 am. on Tuesday. Jimenez-Barragan is being held at Multnomah County's Inverness Jail...

Impostor changed name of ID theft victim

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Mexican man living unlawfully in the United States for decades was arrested Tuesday in an identity theft scheme that was so ingenious that prosecutors say a court unwittingly changed the name of the U.S. citizen whose identity he assumed to his own real name.

The 33-count indictment outlining one of the most unusual identity theft cases in the country....

Unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Wichita, the indictment against Perez-Rivera and his 82-year-old wife, Antonia Vargas-Ortega, outlines a sporadic history of unlawful entry into the United States that dates as far back as the 1950s...

The government contends Perez-Rivera succeeded in fooling scores of state and federal agencies — with the exception of the times he tried to get Supplemental Social Security Income benefits from the Social Security Administration, where the scam finally unraveled...

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson, who has prosecuted hundreds of immigration-related cases, said he has never seen one in which a defendant allegedly changed the identity theft victim's name to his own name.

The couple settled in California around 1980. Immigration officials arrested Perez-Rivera in 1981 for being in the country unlawfully, but did not take his wife into custody because of three adolescent children in the home, according to the indictment. Instead of surrendering herself to immigration officials the next day as promised, she fled. Court documents not indicate the outcome of his arrest...

In June 2011, an investigator from the Social Security Administration interviewed Perez-Rivera and seized all his identity documents. He was not charged at the time. The government says Perez-Rivera got a new Kansas driver's license less than a month later by claiming he had lost his old one. Prosecutors say he tried in 2012 to replace the seized U.S. passport, falsely declaring again he was U.S. citizen. That time, his application was denied.


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