Cocaine Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Mandatory-Minimum
MAR 30 -- PHOENIX - Oscar Augustine Soto, 30, of Phoenix, Arizona, pled guilty late Friday to a federal indictment charging Soto with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. His sentence will be enhanced by his prior 2005 conviction for a federal marijuana trafficking offense.
Both Soto and his co-defendant in the case, Alfonso Martinez-Hernandez, 50, of Phoenix, have pled guilty to Count One of the Indictment.
During the plea hearing, Soto admitted to conspiring with others to sell at least 13 kilograms of cocaine. On May 12, 2009, Soto delivered one kilogram of cocaine to undercover DEA agents for $23,000 in the parking lot of a Phoenix restaurant. His co-defendant, Martinez-Hernandez, agreed to sell them an additional 30 kilograms of cocaine for $23,000 per kilo. On May 29, 2009, both men were arrested after delivering 12 kilograms of cocaine to undercover agents at a local hotel.
In 2005, Soto was convicted in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Tennessee of possession of approximately 500 kilograms of marijuana with intent to distribute it. He served three years in federal prison and, like Martinez-Hernandez, was under supervised release when he committed the new offense. At the plea hearing, Soto also admitted to violating his supervised release by committing the new offense.
At sentencing, Soto faces a minimum mandatory term of imprisonment of 20 years, a maximum of life in prison, a maximum fine of $8,000,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of no less than 10 years. For his supervised release violation in the prior case, he faces a maximum term of five years imprisonment. Sentencing is set for both men on July 12, 2010, before the Honorable Mary H. Murguia.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Phoenix. The prosecution was handled by Jane E. McLaughlin and Steven P. Logan, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
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