News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2007

Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty in Federal Court
– Mexican co-defendant has already pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges

NOV 7 -- PADUCAH, KY - Jaime Ortiz, age 32, who was residing at 321 Friendship Road, Paducah, in McCracken County, pled guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.

Ortiz admitted that between the Summer of 2006 and February 11, 2007, he conspired with co-defendant Pedro Jarquin, a Mexican citizen, to distribute more than 50 grams of actual methamphetamine and aided and abetted him in the actual distribution of methamphetamine in Western Kentucky. Jarquin started selling methamphetamine in the Summer of 2006 and sold Ortiz two ounces of methamphetamine every two weeks at a rate of $1300 to $1500 per ounce. If Ortiz purchased four ounces the methamphetamine only cost $1200 per ounce. Ortiz admitted that on one occasion during the course of the conspiracy, Jarquin sold Ortiz six ounces of methamphetamine. On occasion, to keep the methamphetamine safe, Jarquin would conceal the methamphetamine in a compartment in the door/side of his pickup truck and park his pickup truck at Ortiz's residence in Paducah, Kentucky.

On February 11, 2007, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Ortiz's residence in Paducah, Kentucky. Officers found methamphetamine residue, digital scales and approximately $4,223.35 in U.S. currency. Law enforcement also executed a search warrant at an apartment that Ortiz was renting in Paducah. There, officers found 42 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun. Ortiz freely admitted that he possessed the loaded Smith & Wesson handgun in furtherance of his drug trafficking, namely to protect his drugs and money.

The maximum potential penalties are life imprisonment, a $6,250,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of at least five years; and the minimum potential penalties are 15 years imprisonment.

Co-defendant Pedro Jarquin has already pleaded guilty to distributing crystal methamphetamine in Western Kentucky. Law enforcement had also executed a search warrant at Jarquin's residence in Mayfield, Kentucky, on February 11, 2007. Officers found a Hills Brothers coffee can with a false compartment that contained methamphetamine and a WD-40 can also with a false compartment that contained methamphetamine in the kitchen. Lab results showed that the methamphetamine weighed 133.9 net grams and consisted of 76.3 grams of actual methamphetamine. A search of Jarquin's bedroom revealed digital scales, meth pipes with residue, packaging material, approximately $22,000 in U.S. currency in the top dresser drawer, and a loaded Browning handgun directly below the currency. During his change of plea hearing, Jarquin admitted that he possessed the loaded Browning handgun to protect his drugs and money. Jarquin is scheduled to be sentenced on December 11, 2007 at 11:30 a.m. in Paducah. Jarquin will be subject to deportation after serving his sentence.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michele Thielhorn, and it was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Kentucky State Police, the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department, the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force and the Mayfield Police Department.

The plea was entered before Thomas B. Russell, Judge, United States District Court, Paducah, Kentucky.

Ortiz is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Russell on February 12, 2008, at 1:30 p.m. in Paducah, Kentucky.

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