Michigan Man Plead Guilty to Marijuana Distribution
AUG 18 -- LOUISVILLE, KY - Hector Ontiveros-Valenzuela, of Richland, Michigan, pled guilty on Thursday, August 14, 2008, to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and to unlawful reentry into the United States without obtaining approval from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.
Ontiveros-Valenzuela admitted that between September 13, 2007, and October 2, 2007, he conspired with co-defendants Daniel Leeper and Roberto Nolasco-Flores to distribute marijuana in the Western District of Kentucky. Ontiveros-Valenzuela also admitted that he had been removed from the United States on April 28, 2003, after being convicted of trafficking in a controlled substance in California, and that he had re-entered the country without obtaining approval from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
On September 13, 2007, DEA agents were conducting surveillance of Roberto Nolasco-Flores and Hector Ontiveros-Valenzuela, who had driven a van from Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Louisville to meet with an unknown person for a drug transaction. DEA agents observed Nolasco and Ontiveros meet with a person later identified as Daniel Leeper at the Executive Inn. They observed Leeper transfer two boxes from his vehicle to the van. Agents followed the van to a residence in Richland, Michigan. They obtained a search warrant and seized approximately 80 kilograms of marijuana, with a street value of approximately $350,000 from the boxes which had been loaded in the van from Leeper’s vehicle in Louisville.
Nolasco and Ontiveros are illegal aliens who have previously been deported after having been convicted of drug felonies.
The maximum potential penalties are 40 years imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of four years; and the minimum potential penalties are five years imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of four years.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Larry Fentress, and it was jointly investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The plea was entered before Chief Judge John G. Heyburn II, United States District Court, Louisville, Kentucky. Sentencing is anticipated for scheduling in approximately eight to ten weeks.