Guilty plea in Calif.-to-W.Va. drug conspiracy case


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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Mexican national heavily involved in a California-to-West Virginia drug conspiracy pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal drug charge.

Acting United States Attorney Carol Casto said Daniel Ortiz-Rivera, 24, entered his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

Ortiz-Rivera admitted that from January 2015 to June 2015, he was involved in a drug conspiracy with multiple individuals that included the transportation and distribution of methamphetamine. He admitted that in January 2015, he conspired to have methamphetamine delivered from California to West Virginia and supplied drugs to individuals in West Virginia. Ortiz-Rivera additionally admitted that he had methamphetamine delivered to him in West Virginia and traveled himself to California to pick up methamphetamine.

From January 2015 through May 2015, he delivered at least eight pounds of methamphetamine to an individual in West Virginia. He also admitted that on June 5, 2015, he was driving from California to transport methamphetamine to Charleston and was stopped by law enforcement in Kansas. During a search of the vehicle, law enforcement discovered approximately four pounds of methamphetamine.

Ortiz-Rivera faces at least five and up to 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on October 11, 2016.

This prosecution is the result of a multi-agency investigation which led to an eight-count indictment implicating 14 defendants, including Ortiz-Rivera. Ortiz-Rivera’s co-defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. As part of this conspiracy, two women used as mules to transport methamphetamine, Danielle Dessaray Estrada, 21, of Los Angeles, and Kelly Newcomb, 56, of Nevada, have pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced on October 6, 2016.

The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Charleston Police Department, and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

This case is being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

This press release provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

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