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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Final Defendant in Major Heroin Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison

ROCN Investigation Results in Seizure of Vehicle, Cash, and Heroin Sending Four Defendants to Prison for 70 Months After Conviction for Drug Trafficking of Heroin from California to the Willamette Valley

PORTLAND, OR—Sergio Gutierrez-Torres, 33, of Portland was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman to 70 months in prison, to be followed by a five year term of supervised release on a charge of possession with intent to distribute heroin, for his role in a major heroin trafficking organization. He is the fourth and final defendant sentenced in this case. Co-defendants Jose Saul Rivera-Ramirez, Jose Ruben Lopez-Torres, and Flavio Ruvalcaba-Torres were each sentenced to 70 months in prison at sentencing hearings in July.

The Regional Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force (ROCN) spent 11 months investigating this heroin trafficking organization that brought load vehicles containing heroin from California to the Salem area for further distribution in the Portland metropolitan area and elsewhere. After conducting surveillance on a residence in the 4800 block of Cordon Road N.E. in Salem, ROCN investigators obtained and executed a search warrant on the residence on November 18, 2009. Two of those defendants were arrested at that residence, where ROCN investigators seized 7.5 pounds of heroin, $17,510 in currency, drug packing material and weighing scales. The other two defendants were stopped driving away from the residence with close to five pounds of heroin in their vehicle. The investigation seized a total of 12.3 pounds of heroin, a quarter pound of cocaine, $26,000 in cash and one vehicle.

ROCN brings together federal and local law enforcement from across the region to target major drug-trafficking organizations. This ROCN investigation included participation from the Portland Police Bureau Drugs and Vice Division, FBI, Tigard Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

“Heroin kills a startling number of people in Oregon each year—and decimates the lives and families of even more. Long-term investigations like this one—designed to destroy drug trafficking organizations root and branch—are critical to our efforts to battle this poison,” said United States Attorney Dwight C. Holton.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Russ Ratto, who is a Deputy District Attorney in the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office, prosecuted the case.

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