News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:November 18, 2010
Contact: Mike Turner
Number:  720-895-4214

Man Caught Selling Cocaine and Methamphetamine
in Grand Junction Sentenced to Federal Prison

NOV 18 -- DENVER – Jose Angel Gonzalez-Zuniga, age 54, of Montrose, Colorado, was sentenced on November 8, 2010 by U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello to serve 168 months (14 years) in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and 500 grams of cocaine, United States Attorney John Walsh and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Merrill announced.  Gonzales-Zuniga, who appeared at the hearing in custody, was remanded. 

        The defendant, Jose Angel Gonzales-Zuniga, and two co-defendants, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on December 1, 2009.  Co-defendant Raul Avila-Arellano previously pled guilty and was sentenced to serve 24 months in federal prison.  Co-defendant Jesus Hernandez-Corona was sentenced to serve 51 months in federal prison.  The defendant pled guilty on July 20, 2010.  All of these matters were handled by Judge Arguello.

        According to Gonzales-Zuniga’s plea agreement, on August 24, 2009, the defendant began communicating by telephone with a person in Nevada who was a source of supply for obtaining illegal drugs.  During the phone conversations, the defendant and the source of supply discussed the price and availability of methamphetamine and cocaine.  During subsequent discussions with others involved in the drug trafficking crime, Gonzales-Zuniga stated that he could provide quantities of methamphetamine at $21,000 per pound, and that the methamphetamine was pure.  He also stated that the cocaine he could provide was 98 percent pure.  He then agreed to meet a person, who was a confidential source, to sell 3 pounds of methamphetamine and 2 kilograms of cocaine.  The exchange was to take place on September 20, 2009.  On that date, the defendant, co-defendants, and the confidential source met in the parking lot of the Mesa Mall.  Gonzales-Zuniga had enlisted a co-defendant to drive the drugs from Montrose to Grand Junction for the sale.  Once at the Mall, all parties decided to conduct the illegal drug transaction at the confidential source’s ranch.  As they were driving away from the Mall, a marked patrol car stopped the vehicle with the drugs.  A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed the drugs where in a back pack.  Specifically, there were 1997 grams of cocaine, and 1341 grams of 99 percent pure methamphetamine.

        “Thanks to the hard work of local, state, and federal law enforcement, a substantial amount of cocaine and methamphetamine has been removed from the Western Slope of Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. 

        “The amount of methamphetamine and cocaine this defendant possessed was significant.  For certain, communities on the Western Slope are safer today that this defendant no longer has the opportunity to endanger the lives of our citizens who live there, by continuing to traffic in these dangerous drugs,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Merrill.

        This case was investigated by the DEA, with substantial assistance from the 7 th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Western Colorado Drug Task Force.

        The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wyatt Angelo.

 

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